Afghan kites, or Gudiparan, which translates to “flying doll,” come in sizes ranging from 10 to 12 inches in diameter to the largest ones, which are the height of an adult. Because of its bamboo wood skeleton, thin paper and diamond shape, Afghan kites are flexible and light. Flying Afghan fighter kites usually involves two people and is a common recreation for Afghan males of all ages. One person, the “charka gir,” holds the wooden spool around the line, known as the “tar” or “wire.” The second person, the “gudiparan baz,” or the kite flyer, controls the movements of the kite while in the air.
The Kite, or Gudiparan
Slice bamboo with a sharp knife to form long, thin poles about 4 feet in length and 1/4 inch in diameter. Use a hammer to push the knife down into the bamboo. Five to six thin sticks can be made from each bamboo.
Smooth out the rough and jagged sides of the bamboo with a small razor-blade knife.
Pass the bamboo sticks slowly back and forth through a candle flame to straighten and harden them. Repeat this several times until the bamboo is completely straight. Be careful not to burn the wood.
Glue two pieces of bamboo in a 45-degree angle with the tips of each end touching. This will form a "V" shape.
Glue two more pieces of bamboo in a 45 degree angle with the tips of each end glued together. This will form an inverted "V" shape.
Glue the bottom tip of a 12-inch long bamboo to the inside corner of the first "V."
Glue the opposite tip of the 12-inch bamboo to the corner of the second or inverted "V." Glue the opposite ends of the two "V"-shaped bamboos together to form a diamond shape. The kite should now resemble a diamond with a vertical line in the middle.
Bend a long piece of bamboo to form a half circle. Glue each end to the left and right corners of the diamond. The center of the bent bamboo should rest on the 12-inch long bamboo in the middle of the kite.
Choose brightly colored tissue paper and cut into large pieces about 2 feet in length.
Pour glue into a small bowl and apply to pieces of paper with fingertips. Fold tissue paper around the bamboo skeleton and glue the sides together.
Continue to glue the tissue paper until the diamond shape is completely covered. Leave the curved bamboo and the 12-inch bamboo in the middle exposed.
Cut out, arrange and glue designs from the tissue paper onto the kite. Every piece must be securely glued together without creases or torn edges.
Cut out circular or oval patterns in the tissue paper. Glue and place over the top, middle and lower sections of the middle bamboo. Flatten and mold the tissue paper around the bamboo.
Glue tissue paper around the bottom left and right sides of the the curved bamboo. Leave the top half of the bamboo exposed.
Allow time for the kite to dry. Reapply glue to areas that are not secured.
The Wooden Spool
Cut two circles with 3-inch diameters from thin wood. Drill a small hole in the center of each circle about two centimeters in diameter.
Drill eight small holes one centimeter in diameter about 1/2 inch from the edge of the circle. Each hole should align with another one on the opposite side of the circle.
Smooth the outside curves of the circle with sandpaper.
Cut round wooden sticks into eight pieces, about 3 inches in length. Smooth the ends with sandpaper.
Glue each of the eight sticks into a hole in the circle and fit the opposite ends into holes in the second circle. Smooth out the two circles with sandpaper and paint the outer sides red.
Stick a 1 1/2 foot long round wooden stick through the two larger holes in the center of each circle. This becomes the handle.
The goal of a kite fight is to slice the other flier's string with your own string.
Afghan kite string is coated with resin made of finely crushed glass pieces and glue, which is used as a blade to slice the opponent's kite.
Previously banned by the Taliban, kite flying has re-emerged as a recreational sport under the new government.