A MASTER kite maker has been busy working on a festival which will mark one year since Afghanistan was captured by the Taliban.

Sanjar Qiam opened a toy shop, Rocket Science, in Trafalgar Street, Brighton, after fleeing to the city from Kabul in 2011.

For his latest work however, Sanjar has created a kite-flying festival to be held on August 20 across 15 UK and European cities. It will recognise the anniversary of the Taliban seizing his home country.

Fly With Me will see music, dance, and poetry from Afghan artists, as well as kite-flying – an art form with deep meaning in Afghan culture, which was banned under the previous Taliban regime.

The Argus: The kite festival will be held in 15 different locationsThe kite festival will be held in 15 different locations

“Kite-flying is one of the world’s earliest art forms. There are depictions of kites in cave paintings in Indonesia which are 40,000 years old,” said Sanjar.

“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.”

The project comes from the Good Chance Theatre, creators of The Walk With Amal, in which a giant puppet of a child refugee walked from the Turkish-Syrian border to Manchester.

Fly With Me was developed with Sanjar, and Afghanistan-born actor and director Elham Ehsas and Afghan musician Elaha Soroor.

The Argus: Flying kites is deeply rooted in Afghanistan's cultreFlying kites is deeply rooted in Afghanistan's cultre

It follows the story of Zaki, a 12-year-old boy in Kabul who flies kites each autumn - in keeping with 800-year-old traditions.

He is learning how to make kites alone with his younger sister, Marwa, after their brother Bahram was forced to flee by the Taliban.

Joe Murphy, co-artistic director of Good Chance Theatre, said: “Kites remain attached to the ground through a single thread but fly free of the borders that define the land.

“Kites are the embodiment of freedom and play.

“But the last time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, kites were banned – along with music, free journalism, theatre and dancing.

“That affront to freedom of expression is clearly being perpetuated again with the Taliban back in power.

“Fly With Me is a reminder to the world: Remember Afghanistan.”

UK cities to take part in the festival include London, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. Copenhagen, Berlin and Paris will also host events.