Scottish TV has reported that Scot soldiers on duty in Afghanistan have been handing out kites to the Afghan youth as a gift of friendship.
Kite flying is a well established cultural tradition in Afghanistan and the soldiers of the Second Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland working near the Afghan village of Popalzai in the Lashkar Gah area of the country have gained popularity with the local youth through the gift of kites.
Reporter Cara Sulieman of stv writes that:
"Now they are concentrating on building relationships with the local community and have found the kites have gone down a storm.
Children in the area were not allowed to play with the popular toys when the insurgents ruled the village. With the help of soldiers from The Royal Highland Fusiliers, they are now building and flying the kites.
Colour Sergeant Roddy Weir said: “Before long the soldiers were sharing a laugh and a joke with the local children. The kids were thrilled to receive the kites and almost overwhelmed the soldiers who were showing them how to put them together.
“It was a strange experience for most of the young soldiers - it's not often you deploy on a foot patrol only to find yourself playing with kites and entertaining the local children.”
When on joint patrol, British and Afghan troops usually hand out notebooks, pens and Afghan flags as they build up links in the community.
The kite kits are a new addition to the presents and dozens were handed out on Wednesday.
Lieutenant Erik Smith added: “This was a fantastic sight and real evidence of progress in Helmand province."
The kites are not of the traditional Afghan kite variety but, nevertheless, they are a real hit with the youngsters.
Kite flyers all know the peaceful effects of kite flying as an expression of joy and appreciation of the outdoors, so it is no surprise that these gifts would have a positive effect on the young people of the area.