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Kites in the sky
Photograph: Oleinik Iuliia /

The UK’s largest-ever kite festival is taking place in aid of Afghanistan this weekend

It’s been a year since the Taliban took control of the country

Written by
Faima Bakar

You may remember seeing images of Afghanistan all over your TV a year ago. The Taliban were fast encroaching upon the capital Kabul as western forces withdrew from the country. It resulted in a serious curtailing of women’s rights, which is still ongoing, as well as a large-scale humanitarian crisis. 

To mark one year since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, Good Chance Theatre is launching the UK’s largest-ever festival, Fly With Me, an immersive, multi-city event presented by Afghan artists, actors and sportspeople.

Spread across 16 locations in the UK and Europe, Fly With Me celebrates the ancient Afghan craft of kite-flying in an aerial act of solidarity with the people of Afghanistan. Along with music, theatre and dance, the art form was banned by the Taliban during their earlier occupation of the country.

Elham Ehsas, an actor, director and the co-creator of Fly With Me, said: ‘During my lifetime, my country’s colours have been painted, wiped, repainted then wiped again 15 times. But we have always flown kites. The colours change but our skies are the same. Let’s take to the skies and remember that Afghanistan’s flag has been wiped once again.’

Sanjar Qiam, an Afghan refugee and fellow co-creator of Fly With Me, added: ‘In Afghanistan, kites occupy a unique space between national art form and national sport. They are a universal symbol of expression, skill and cultural pride. Fly With Me is an act of solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and an opportunity for all of us to come together and feel between our fingers the strings that connect us to this incredible country, its culture and its people.’

Starting on August 20, the festival will see 16 cities and towns across the UK and Europe taking part including Brighton, Bradford, Dover, Folkestone, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Scunthorpe and Sheffield

ICYMI: here’s everything you need to know about the August rail strikes.

Plus: bus fares across England will soon be capped to help fight the cost-of-living crisis.

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