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Kabul Kite Maker Launches Afghan Kites on Silver Screen

DuellingKites.gifKabul's skies are once more filled with darting kites since the ban on kite flying imposed by the Taliban regime was lifted when a new government came to office in late 2001.

Skilled kite maker Noor Agha is again plying his trade and selling kites to make a living.  In fact, business is so good that he has taught all of his wives to make kites and is training his six year old daughter to do so as well.

Noor Agha's traditional Afghan kites are so authentic and precise that they were selected for use in the filming of the movie version of Khaled Hosseini's best selling novel, The Kite Runner.  (See entry on The Kite Runner movie.)  His kites were shipped in large quantity to China where the movie was filmed . The kites will be seen by millions of people around the world on the big screen.

Time Magazine reports:

Agha's factory is his living room, where he has put his two wives and 11 children to work, cutting, shaping and gluing the intricate tissue-paper mosaics that make his kites stand out for their beauty and superior handling. The secret is in the glue, he says, holding up a pot of evil-smelling green paste. "No one knows my recipe for making a glue that stays perfectly flat when it dries, without rippling the tissue paper," he says. Business is so good these days that Agha has had to teach his wives how to make kites. He proudly calls one of them "the second best kite maker in Kabul," although he insists that she will never be as good as he is. "I have 45 years' experience. She'll never be able to catch up." His 6-year-old daughter may have a better chance. Already she is making her own kites to sell to neighborhood children at one afghani (2¢) apiece.[1]

Noor Agha had to take his business underground in order to make kites during the Taliban days, but now his work can be sold openly.

'Kabul has changed a lot compared with how it was in the Taliban time. During their regime, if a child was even caught flying a (cheap) plastic kite, his father would be thrown in jail,' he said.

'But fortunately now, we live like kings. We can do whatever we want. We can fly kites wherever we want. We can enjoy our hobbies."[2]

Not only does Noor Agha craft traditional kites to a level of excellence, he still flies them once a week with other kite fliers. He continues to experience the sheer joy of controlling a darting kite and battling with opponents for supremacy in the skies.  Agha concludes:   "Making kites is my job," he says. "Fighting them is my disease." [3]



1.   TIME Magazine (On-line)  Friday, February 23, 2007 

2.   Kite industry thriving in Afghanistan.  Monday, November 13, 2006

3.   TIME Magazine (On-line) Friday, February 23, 2007 


Posted on Friday, February 23, 2007 at 07:47AM by Registered CommenterHifliercanada in , | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References

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