I N F O / P O O L

kiteflying : afghanistan

kite cultural project
2001 - 2004

photo courtesy c.bell

photo Paul Jeffrey/ACT International

photo courtesy by David Sahar

Caleb Kenna, March 2000

photo Paul Jeffrey/ACT International

photo proppress

Kites for Peace Project

April 2003 - UN peacekeeping forces ISAF (germany) will distribute
10.000 kites to kabul children.

from ISAF Kabul webpage (closed 2004):

Friedensdrachen - Die ISAF-Drachen fanden großen Zuspruch.

Das spielen mit Drachen war in Afghanistan einst ein populärer Zeitvertreib für jung und alt. Es war üblich die Drachen steigen, und im Wind als Sport gegeneinander kämpfen zu lassen. Doch die Taliban verboten diesen Spaß. Einer der deutschen Offiziere in Kabul erfuhr aus einem Buch davon und hatte die Idee, daraus ein OpInfo Produkt zu machen. Ursprünglich waren die Drachen in Afghanistan aus Papier und Holz gefertigt. Holz ist in Afghanistan Mangelware und hätte auch für andere Zwecke genutzt werden können. Also wurde ein Drachen konstruiert, der ohne die tragenden Holzstäbchen fliegen kann. Die afghanischen Farben schwarz, rot und grün wurden benutzt. In der Mitte ist eine große Friedenstaube abgebildet, die von dem Schriftzug "Man kann das Leben durch Freiheit schmücken" umrandet ist. Ein kleines Wappen der ISAF-Truppe zeigt den Leuten, wer die 10.000 Drachen verteilt hat.

Die Drachen sind ein wieder gewonnenes Stück Freiheit für die Afghanen, denen jegliche Freuden, die für uns ganz alltäglich sind, lange verwährt waren.


"white ribbon" project
"The White Ribbon is a symbol for life and coexistence
without violence, oppression and crime."


photo album kitefly kabul Jan.2003



kite links afghanistan -

"1000 cerfs-volants pour l'Afghanistan"
une action humanitaire 2002, eolotempo france

planet.kite.matrix. world kite project

Afghan Kite History:

May 2005 an Interview with Khaled Hosseini
Author of "The Kite Runner"
in villagerambler magazine
Sep 2004   Inside Afghanistan: The Kites of Kabul
a 30 minute special report Wednesday, September 29th at 7pm on CBS 5
(CBS5 SanFrancisco)

"If the dirt of the day and the din of the traffic become too much, just look up -- soaring above the city on any given day, anywhere, you can see the kites of Kabul.
Kite flying is big business again in Kabul. Banned by the Taliban, it was against the law for several years. The younger kite flyers are making up for lost time. Farhad Whaedy is a veteran, spending nearly half his 10-year-old life on the kite-cutting circuit.
"When you compete with the other kites, you should cut the other kite," said Whaedy. "Everybody good will cut the other kite."
Kite cutting is when your kite's string severs the string of your competitor, launching the loser's aloft. And on this battleground, there is a fate worse than losing. If your opponent should find your kite, well, the humiliation is doubled. But until then, a champion is like a rock star."

Dana King "Inside Afghanistan"
Feb 2003 photos of first kiteshops reopened in kabul
(more: see link to photopages below )
Jan 2003

projecting kiteflying as cultural transfer and educational project in cooperation with ISAF / UN mandated "peace forces", kabul.




< photopage "kiteflying in kabul" early morning 18.Jan2003.
[photo courtesy by C.Bell, ISAF kabul, 18jan03]

Jan 2003



< kiteflying in afghanistan -
[ pic courtesy by David Sahar > afghana.com kite-web ]

2002 Nov

more about >
Afghanistan: Artistry In The Air -
- Kite Flying Is Taken To New Heights
see radioliberty.europe

"To the first-time visitor, the skies above Kabul appear to be filled with fluttering birds or pieces of paper caught in the wind. A closer look reveals hundreds of brightly colored kites soaring high into the air...."
"Jawid says he still sold kites during the days of the Taliban, but that everywhere it was done in secret..."
2002 Aug


"The Secret Kite" a story about kites and taliban afghanistan.
released by TES - UNICEF - now on FPC page

2002 Jun
The Dallas Morning News >
"As soon as they made fun legal again, Muhammad Zamon knew he was going to become a very busy man. As one of Kabul's premier kite makers, Mr. Zamon says he never has seen business soar higher than in the six weeks since the Taliban's fall from power and, with it, an end to the kite-flying ban.
"We used to have huge stocks and no customers. Nothing was selling because of the ban. Now, I can't make them fast enough," said Mr. Zamon, 57. "As soon as I put one together, somebody comes and buys it. ...
Kite-flying, for example, was banned because the Taliban's Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Supression of Vice suspected that boys could use kites as an excuse to climb on rooftops and sneak a peak into the back yards and houses of neighbors. There could be women walking around without their head-to-toe burqas, the Taliban reasoned, and therefore, kite-flying had to be banned."
2002 Mar   a story about a kite collection from portland, usa to afghanistan.
2002 Mar

more about >

Kite gambling returns to Afghanistan
see hollandsentinel.com

"My father was a kite fighter, and my grandfather before him and I have been a kite fighter since I was knee high," said Aga, now 43. "This is my passion and my profession. Kites allow me to eat and survive."

Two years ago, Aga was caught by the Vice and Virtue police flying a kite from the roof of his home. The police found his clandestine kite shop and burned it to the ground, he said. They then threw Aga in jail for two weeks, where he was drilled on the evils of kite fighting.

"I lost everything. Everything in the world," he said.

But nothing could take away his love for the sport.

"The Taliban left at 2 a.m. and at 9 a.m. I was flying my kites," Aga said.

Nov 2001 "An Afghan boy flies a kite in the Shorora neigborhood of the Afghan capital Kabul November 21, 2001"
(AP/Wide World Photo - Brennan Linsley)
from us.dpt.state.intl.inf
Nov 1, 2001
media research ctr report >
"We saw a young boy flying a kite," ABC’s Dan Harris marveled from Taliban-controlled Kandahar."
"Jennings then asked Harris about life in Kandahar. Harris replied that the religious police had been "shut down." Harris observed: "We expected a completely joyless, rigid society. But today in fact we saw a young boy flying a kite. In any other nation in the world that would be an ordinary site, but previously kite-flying had been outlawed by the Taliban. We saw women walking unescorted. Previously that had been outlawed."


< "The first sight of the Buddhas is breathtaking. During the Third and Fourth Century AD and before the introduction of Islam to this region a large Buddhist colony inhabited the valley. At one time more than 1,000 monks lived and prayed here in caved carved into the cliffs. They created two large figures of Buddha, one standing, the other seated...."
- pic and report by Emmalee Tarry, 1977 - see full story -
[courtesy by 22jan03 - nonprofit]

Nov 2001 < November 2001, near Kunduz.

"No kite does fly, no bird will cry.."


photo by Alexander Merkushev - see more -
[courtesy by 22jan03 - nonprofit]

2001 photo Paul Jeffrey/ACT International

< Shamshatoo Refugee Camp, Peshawar, Pakistan

[photo courtesy by Paul Jeffrey/ACT International 22jan03 ]
- webpage ACT - Afghanistan Emergency Appeal

summer 2001 photo Paul Jeffrey/ACT International

"Hope can also be seen in the kite that 7-year old Abdul Maruf flies above the village. Maruf's family left their drought-ravaged farm in the Afghan countryside a year ago, moving in with relatives outside Mazar-e-Sharif. Yet three months later, when the war with the ruling Taliban threatened to overtake their village, Maruf's parents made the decision to flee to safety in neighboring Pakistan. Soon after arrival Maruf put together a kite, one of many pleasures banned by the Taliban. He said his biggest complaint about the camp is a lack of wind, and he runs through the street kicking up dust as he struggles to get his kite airborne."
"I like it here, but I liked it better at home," he said. "If peace comes, I want to go back home. And I'll take my kite with me."
- more : PWSD / ACT

< Shamshatoo Refugee Camp, Peshawar, Pakistan
photo Paul Jeffrey/ACT International - webpage Action by Churches Together
[courtesy by 22jan03 ]

Oct 2001

"Ahmad Shah Massoud was the first Afghan leader to have signed a petition calling for the emancipation of women. Northern Afghanistan, October 2001".

< Some young Afghan men regard women as mysterious creatures, trying to guess what is hidden behind the veil. Mazar-e-Sharif, February 2002.

photo courtesy from Alexander Merkushev visit his website!
[courtesy by 22jan03 - nonprofit]

nbc news

Music, except for religious chants, is prohibited in shops, hotels and vehicles, and at weddings and parties. Kite flying is considered "useless" and an obstacle to education. Hobbies like keeping pigeons also are forbidden. web


< afghanistan lovely landscape, sept 2001.
photo courtesy by Alexander Merkushev -
[courtesy by 22jan03 - nonprofit]

sept 11, 2001

(dec 2001) ...lot of trouble, thinking, talking and confusion the last 3 months. its a big war running here, there and there on the planet. kiteflying now no more opressed in afghanistan, but difficult to tell whether the general situation for the people there will turn to good soon.


< german-afghan kitefly, OSOW day oct 2001, wuppertal, DE
[courtesy by 15oct2001 - nonprofit]

2000 March Caleb Kenna, March 2000

< "A young soldier carries a kite and an assault rifle.
The future of Afghanistan depends on security and peace..."

photo Caleb Kenna - see more -
[courtesy by 22jan03 - nonprofit]

aug 1998

am. medical assn. usa web - women's health information centre a report :
Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world...
In 1994, the Taliban, a radical Islamic movement believed to have originated from religious schools in Pakistan, emerged and spread throughout southern Afghanistan...
Other reasons for detention of men included being in a mosque at prayer time, flying a kite, playing music at their wedding, and laughing in public. The majority, 70 (60%) of 116, of these detentions lasted longer than an hour; 63 (54%) resulted in beatings and 24 (21%) resulted in torture.

< afghan kiter, living in usa. pic courtesy by basir beria goudi paraan
[courtesy by 22jan03 ]

afghana.com web

lots of info, news, newsgroups.

The Art of Gudiparan bazi
afghan kiteflying, usa 1998
Before the war began, Gudiparan bazi (kite flying) was a common hobby of many Afghans throughout Afghanistan. It was a form of sport that many took to the status of art. From the designs and sizes of kites to the making of unbreakable tar (wire), for many this became a matter of honor to compete in who's who among the best kite fighters in their neigborhood. This addicting sport absorbed many young Afghans, even during the war. For those who missed out on this great Afghan past time, here is the nuts and bolts of Afghan kite and kite fighting in a nut shell. I have compiled this article to preserve this aspect of the Afghan culture, as today this sport is banned by current authorities.
(islamic 1375)

Letter from the Cultural and Social Affairs Department of General Presidency of Islamic State of Afghanistan
No. 6240 dated 26.09.1375 (1996?)

from human rights watch

Notice of Department for enforcement of right Islamic way and prevention of evils: ...
(g.) To prevent kite flying: First should be broadcasted by the public information resources advising the people of its useless consequences such as betting, death of children and their deprivation from education. The kite shops in the city should be abolished. ...
Mawlavi Enayatullah Baligh, Deputy Minister, General Presidency of Amr Bil Marof Wa Nai Az Munkir (religious police)

< "This arch celebrates a military victory of King Amanullah in the War of Independence in 1919. Today it used as a park. On the holiday boys are flying kites a popular sport in Afghanistan."

courtesy by Emmalee Tarry - see more
[courtesy by 22jan03 - nonprofit]

planet.kite.matrix. web in the year 2000 when starting with the 'worldkite documention project' we found that Afghanistan seemed to be the only country where kiteflying is explicit forbidden and illegal. silly, crazy, stupid, absurd? No chance to understand - so not acceptable. of course, opressed kites are not the worst in REALITY - see under what conditions the people themselves, especial the women, have to live...



Alexander Merkushev - website
David Sahar - afghana.com kite-web
Caleb Kenna calebkenna.com
Paul Jeffrey / ACT International
chris bell, kabul jan.2003
tom j. - phoenix
Emmalee Tarry - web
us dptmt of state / intl inf prog
basir beria / gina hsiung goudi paraan

in Cooperation:

"culture of peace" - UNESCO
please check their site to learn more about peace decade 2001-2010.
help distributing the ideas for peace now activities!
< click logo to visit unesco peace decade web!
planet.kite.matrix. "worldkite.web"