Afghans embrace kite flying amid Taliban restrictions

Across Afghanistan, the tradition of kite flying remains a vibrant escape as citizens face an array of restrictions, particularly noticeable with the arrival of spring.

In Balkh, kite sellers note that their clientele extends across the country, with many young Afghans eager to keep this cultural pastime thriving.

Despite the joyful resurgence of kite flying, the season is shadowed by the Taliban’s ongoing prohibitions, notably the continued exclusion of girls above sixth grade from schools for the third consecutive year.

In Mazar-i-Sharif, a local kite shop stands as a popular gathering spot, particularly during holidays and weekends. “We came to buy kites. I’m interested in kite flying, so I have to buy good threads,” shared one Mazar-e Sharif resident, underscoring the enthusiasm for high-quality kite flying materials among the youth.

Shopkeepers indicate that kite prices range from two to 200 Afghanis. Ahmad Haroon Amiri, a local kite seller, mentioned, “The kites we sell start from two to 200 AFN, and we also offer decorative kites for room decoration.”

Additionally, kite vendors reported having a customer base that spans several provinces including Kunduz, Badakhshan, Sar-e Pol, and Kandahar.

Kite flying also holds a romantic significance during Eid celebrations, as expressed in a local saying, “Lovers send their Eid messages to each other through kites,” highlighting a unique cultural expression of affection.