Kite Runner and the History of Afghanistan

  • Baba and Ali

    In 1933, Baba was born, and the last king of Afghanistan began his rule. That same year, "[two wealthy brothers] high on hashish and [drunk] on French wine, [struck] and killed a Hazara husband and wife on the road to Paghman." (24) The dead Hazara couple left behind an orphan, who Baba's father adopted into the household. That boy was Ali. The explain of Ali and Baba's past gives us an insight to their character, thus providing us with a way to understand the plot and their choices.
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    Kite Runner

  • Amir and Hassan

    In July 1973," [I] played another little trick on Hassan. I was reading to him, and suddenly I strayed from the written story." (30) Amir intented to pull a prank on Hassan by telling his own story; however, Hassan enjoys his made up story much more than any written story that Amir has read to him. This exchange urges him to begin writing his own books, and later getting them published.
  • Kite Runner

    Towards the end of 1975, an event occurs which changes the entire course of the novel. Amir wins the kite tournament, finally winning Baba's approval, and Hassan goes running for the last kite in the sky. After a few hours, Amir becomes concerned for Hassan and runs after him. He finds Hassan cornered by Assef in an alleyway. Assef demands the kite that is in Hassan's possession but Hassan refuses. Amir watches his childhood friend get raped and, "[i]n the end, [he] ran." (77)
  • Amir's isolation

    After Hassan is raped by Assef, "[Amir] closed [himself] in [his] room." (87) As a young boy, all that Amir cared about was Baba's atttention. He was willing to give up anything, even the bond he had with Hassan. After the incident, Amir realized how much he had actually betrayed Hassan. His initial response was to hide, which is how most spoiled children would react.
  • Hassan and Ali leave

    After Amir's thirteenth birthday, he decides that Hassan has got to go. He hides his watch and some money under Hassan's pillow. Baba finds out and asks Hassan if he stole those valuables. Remarkably, Hassan confesses to the crime he hasn't committed. It was at that point that Amir realized that, "this is was Hassans final scarifice for [him]." (105) That Hassan had known the entire time, and he still protected Amir. After all, Hassan viewed him as his brother.
  • Soviet war in Kabul

    In April 1978, the soviets arrive in Afghanistan bringing forth a long age of war. Amir describes it as "...the beginning of the end." (36) This historical event symbolizies the ending of Amir and Hassan's childhood. With solidiers now invading their very home, the children will learn fear faster than othe cultures, and will become hardened to the world's cold reality.
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  • Communist coup d'etat

    December 1979, Russian tanks enter Kabul, and "[bring death to] the Afghanistan [Amir] knew..." (36) This event marks a turning point in Amir's childhood. He's exposed to the harsh reality of the world, and thus matures his character to a certain extent. Amir explains that Russian tanks brought an end to the Afghanistan he knew. What he meant by that is that war destroys cultures, and refers to the fact that Afghanistan might never return to it's former glory due to war and devastation.
  • Soviet troops invade Afghanistan

    On this date,"the first soviet troops parachuted into Kabul... to assist Barak Karmal, who had become president in a coup within the Afghan Communist leadership." (NYT)
  • America

    The war in Afghanistan became extremely dangerous for Baba and Amir quickly; therefore they escaped in an underground human trafficking system to America.They settled down in California, and "Baba loved the idea of America." (125) Baba enjoyed the idea of America due to the fact that he could work hard, and the people were as hard working and driven as he was. However, working that hard at his age ended with an ulcer.
  • High school graduation

    At age twenty Amir graduates high school, and enjoys a night with his father. Baba and Amir end up at a bar where they socialize with locals. Baba exclaims that,"'Tonight I am too much happy,'".(132) Baba is proud of Amir for finishing his education. He can see that Amir is becoming a man and growing into the standards Baba has for Amir. This event shows that their bond is healing from all the silence in Afghanistan. Their realationship hints at a future of tranquility.
  • Flea Market

    During summer, Amir and Baba would drive their bus around collecting junk to sell at the flea market. One early morning Amir meets a girl whom he describes as,"a slim-hipped beauty with velety coal black hair..." (140) At first sight, Amir falls in love with Soraya, the daughter of an Afghan general, Taheri. This event also gives an insight to the growing connection between Baba and Amir. Once he asks for Soraya's hand in marriage, Baba will surely be even more proud of Amir.
  • Baba's heart attack

    Soon after Amir introduced himself to Soraya, Baba caught a cold which turned out to be lung cancer. Baba downplayed it as much as he could till one day he had an heart attack. While he and Amir were selling junk Amir, "turned around and found Baba on the ground." (158) Baba's hard working spirit shows through even with cancer in his system. This event makes it clear that Baba is not one to easily quit. He's obviously going to keep working for his family even if it literally kills him.
  • Baba's death

    A month after Amir and Soraya's marriage, Baba dies. During his funeral, Amir is approached by many people claiming to know hm. During all those encounters he's struck by, "how much of who [he] was, what [he] was, had been defined by Baba and the marks he had left on people's lives." (174) At this moment, Amir is reminded about how vibrant and loud Baba's life had been. He had lived life to the fullest with no fear in his heart, and Amir is envious of that. While Amir has spent most of his life
  • the Soviet Air Force's Downfall

    The soviet troops remained in Afghanistan for around "nine years, fighting a conflict that cost them 15,000 lives...after 1986 the Soviet Air Force was also rendered largely useless..." (NYT)
  • Soviet troops retreat

    After peace talks were arranged with "the United Nations, the last soviet troops laft Afghanistan..." (NYT)
  • Afghanistan falls into chaos

    After Soviet troops disappear from Afghanistan, the country falls apart, "by the summer of 1994, the power was anarchically divided among competingwarlors and indivual fiefdoms." (NYT)
  • The rise of the Taliban

    The Taliban was created from a student movement commited to cleansing Afghanistan, "the group's first action occurred when Mullah Omar... gathered a small band of men and attacked a group of warlords... by the the end of 1994 Mullah Omar had nearly 12,000 followers..." (NYT)
  • Taliban takes control

    With the help from Pakistan "the Taliban by 1996 had control of Afghanistan, imposing strict enforcement of fundamentalist Islamic law.." (NYT)
  • bin Laden and the Taliban

    In addition the Taliban provided protection for the terrorist bin Laden, "who arrived by charted jet at Jalalabad Airport in MAy 1996.." (NYT)
  • Assef fight

    When Amir finally found Sohrab he discovered that his nephew was in the clutches of Amir's childhood bully, Assef. He then challenges Amir to a fight to the death. Suprisingly, Amir began laughing as Assef beat the life out of him and, "what was so funny was that, for the first time since the winter of 1975, [he] felt at peace." (289) As Assef beat Amir with brass knuckles, he felt relief. All he ever wanted ever since the rape was to feel what Hassan had felt. Now at long last he felt calm.
  • Amir and Sohrab

    Amir and Sohrab arrived home in August, 2001. One would assume that it would bring an end to the plot and lay all to rest. Sadly, Sohrab was still severly depressed. He never talked, yet "[his silence] was the silence of one who has taken over in a dark place, curled up all the edges and tucked them under." (361) Sohrab has constantly endured death and getting his happiness snatched away from him at a young age. He's attempted suicide as well. Thus, showing the that the plot hasn't finished yet.
  • The defeat of the Taliban

    After the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, George W. Bush "gave the Taliban an ultimatum to hand over Mr. bin Laden. When it refused, the [US] joined forces with rebel groups..." (NYT) and began an air and ground campaign that removed the Taliban from any major Afghan cities.
  • Hamid Karzai

    Hamid Karzai a family member and supporter "of Mohammad Zahir Shah, the exiled former king of Afghanistan, was named chairman of an interim government" (NYT) this replaced to defeated Taliban. Thus making Hamid the new leader of the country.
  • Afghan New Year's

    In March 2002, Amir finally recieved a sign from Sohrab that there was still hope. During a kite running tournament on Afghan New Year's Amir saw Sohrab give him "only a smile and nothing more" (371) This small gesture from Sohrab shows that there is hope for the future. A small smile shows Amir that he can still save Sohrab from the horror of reality, and show him how to be a kid again. Obviously the pain won't disappear, but it can be treated with a loving home and family.
  • Hamid and his promises

    Hamid took office in "June 2002, saying he hoped to secure peace for Afghanistan and wih the country much-needed international aid." (NYT)