13 July 2020

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Kite Flying Festival In Senjaray Showcases "Afghan normalcy" For Zharay Residents

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Kandaar (BNA) Over 250 Senjaray residents, most of whom were children, participated in a kite-flying festival in eastern Zharay district, on January 19, in an event that brought residents, Afghan security forces, and district leadership together, while also demonstrating a return to normal life, in an area once
afflicted by insurgent activity.
Afghan Soldiers from the 3rd Kandak of the 3rd Brigade, 205th Afghan Army Corps, and Soldiers from Combined Task Force Spartan's 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, hosted the event near Combat Outpost Senjaray. With no clouds in the sky, and just enough wind to keep the kites sailing, children from across the area competed to win prizes and congratulations by Afghan security forces' leadership and community leaders.
Kite flying is a popular pastime among the Afghan people, and in
other countries, such as India and Pakistan. Kite flying is a
competition against other kite fliers. The kite lines are lined with
shards of glass, and the goal is to cut the other kites lines, sending
it plummeting to the ground.
While this event was not nearly as aggressive, it still provided
a fun activity for the spectators and participants who consider it the
national pastime.
"Kite flying, along with cricket and wrestling is one of the big
events that they do," said Capt. Andrew Eickbush, the fire support
officer for 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment.
Once forbidden by the Taliban, kite flying is a popular sport in
Afghanistan, and the Afghan and coalition security forces hoped hosting
this event would show that life for Zharay district residents is
improving. Soldiers also hosted wrestling and soccer tournaments late
last year at the Zharay District Center to provide a recreational
opportunity for the local people, and attracted over 1,000 spectators.
In Nalgham, residents there asked coalition forces' Soldiers if they
would secure an area to host a wrestling tournament, and over 50
residents showed up to watch.
At the kite flying festival, Afghan Soldiers helped the children
assemble their kites, and then served as the master of ceremonies and
primary security force for the event.
The 3rd Kandak commander also gave a speech kicking off the event, and letting the residents know the Afghan security forces would secure the people.
"It seemed as if all the adults had the traditional knowledge of how kite flying happened, but it seemed like most of the kids didn't know how to fly kites.
But it was good for the older generation to show the younger generation," Eickbush said.
Afghan and CTF Spartan Soldiers are planning to host additional
recreational days in the future, nicknamed "Afghan Normal Days," that
would demonstrate to Kandahar provincial residents that Zharay district
is becoming increasingly more secure.

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