Kite flying is one of Afghanistan’s national outdoor sports. People have been flying kites in Afghanistan for more than 100 years. Flying kite is a common hobby of many Afghan people throughout the country. Kite flying in Afghanistan is an outdoor sport that many consider to be an art form. From the designs and sizes of kites to the making of unbreakable wire, for many, the hobby became a matter of honor to compete to be the best kite flyers in their neighborhood.
Unfortunately, kite flying in Afghanistan was banned by the Taliban during the war in 1996 — 2001. It was against the law for several years, but after the collapse of the Taliban government, it has become legal again and everyone loves to fly kites. Kite flying is frequently enjoyed during the weekends because Friday is considered a holiday in Afghanistan, due to religious traditions. Muslims traditionally take a day of rest and prayer on Friday so students are off from the school, and they have a chance to have fly kites.
Many young Afghan people are attracted to this sport. The best season for Kite flying in Afghanistan is during the Autumn season because of the good winds. Many children and adults fly colorful kites in their spare time. Kite flying is a favorite sport that brings joy and smiles to many people; however, it can sometimes be dangerous too.
Many people get injured on rooftops by chasing free kites or lose focus during a heated battle and forget about the ground. Some people cut their fingers from grabbing onto the strings of the kites because of strong winds and sharp glass particles bonded to the line. People usually use sharp glass because it is easier to cut a competitor’s wire during a kite battle. The most common place to fly kites is in Chaman-e-Babrak, a park in northern Kabul where there are many kite-flying competitions. Kids, teenagers, adults, and seniors come from all around Afghanistan and Kabul city to participate in these competitions and lay wagers on fighting kites.
In Afghan cities, the sky is filled during the competition with hundreds of brightly colored kites soaring high into the air going from one side to the other. When an opponent’s kite is cut free, “It flutters like a colorful, dying bird into the far reaches of the city,” said Khaled Hosseini. Hosseini is the author of The Kite Runner, a novel that explores life under the Taliban, as well as, the protagonist’s experience with kite flying. Kite flying in Afghanistan is enjoyed among the people particularly during the specific months of the three seasons which is Spring, Summer, and Autumn. Today the Afghan kites are seen in many countries and in different parts of the world. Due to its unique design, people love to have them in their homes and decorate their houses with these beautiful pieces of art.
Photos courtesy of https://www.rferl.org/a/1101400.html