The people of a country riven by conflict have found common ground in their passion for cricket.
The Afghanistan under-19 cricket team is in Christchurch preparing for its debut at the U19 World Cup, being played at venues around the country from Friday.
Manager Sayed Shah Aminzai said the juniors were inspired by the success of the senior side, which was ranked second among the International Cricket Council's associate nations.
The U19s narrowly missed qualification for the 2008 tournament.
In the war-torn region between Pakistan and Iran, the sport is a rare uniting force, despite no cricketing pedigree and limited facilities.
Even the Taleban, which banned cricket while in power, now backed its teams.
"This is the sport that got the support of all the [political] parties," Aminzai said.
Isn't that a great story? Whilst the John Mintos of this world pick on sporting targets to get airtime, here's tangible proof that sport and politics do NOT have to be enemies of one another. And in a very rare step, we applaud the ICC for its efforts to globalise cricket by way of its affiliates programme.
But we'll leave the last words of this feel-good story to Marc Greenhill:
"It was amazing for me to hear that when we qualified for the ODIs [50-over matches], the captain received congratulations from the Taleban."
The war had affected the sport's progress, with many quality players unable to travel to games because of the security risk.
Aminzai was positive about Afghanistan's chances despite a tough pool with India, England and Hong Kong.
The team was banking on support from Christchurch's Afghan community, which had swamped it with home-cooked dinner invitations.