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Kite fliers gathered in multiple cities in a show of solidarity with Afghanistan

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Children fly kites at Parliament Hill viewpoint on August 20, 2022 in London, England. To mark one year since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, Good Chance Theatre is launching the first edition of Fly With Me, a festival of Afghan kite-flying, storytelling, music, poetry and dance that is taking place across 16 locations in the UK and Europe. The festival celebrates the ancient Afghan craft of kite-flying in an act of solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and calls on the UK Government to treat all people seeking asylum fairly and equally, including those from Afghanistan. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Children fly kites at Parliament Hill viewpoint on August 20, 2022 in London, England. To mark one year since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, Good Chance Theatre is launching the first edition of Fly With Me, a festival of Afghan kite-flying, storytelling, music, poetry and dance that is taking place across 16 locations in the UK and Europe. The festival celebrates the ancient Afghan craft of kite-flying in an act of solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and calls on the UK Government to treat all people seeking asylum fairly and equally, including those from Afghanistan. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

People in more than 30 cities across the U.K., Europe and the U.S. participated in a kite festival to mark one year since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban.

In Afghanistan, kite flying is a recreational activity like it is in other countries, but there's more to it than letting your kite fly up high on a string. Kite fighting is popular, where multiple fliers using lines coated with extra-sharp material will try to cut each other's line. Flying kites was banned during the Taliban's previous time in control of the country.

The festival, called Fly With Me, was created by the Good Chance Theatre, alongside master Afghan kitemaker Sanjar Qiam, The Kite Runner actor Elham Ehsas, and Afghan musician Elaha Soroor, and was meant to celebrate the Afghan tradition and serve as a show of solidarity.

"Fly With Me is a reminder to the world: Remember Afghanistan," Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, the co-artistic directors at Good Chance Theatre, said in a statement. "And so, by making and flying kites in the Afghan tradition, led by Afghans who have made new lives in Europe, and open to all, we will be standing in solidarity with Afghans in the latest affront to their freedom and will remind the world of the devastating humanitarian crisis still taking place in Afghanistan today."

Afghanistan fell to the Taliban on Aug. 15, 2021. Since then the country has been hit with poverty and a hunger crisis that is affecting nearly 20 million people — or almost half the country — according to a report from the United Nations and other groups.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.