Kite Runner and the History of Afghanistan

  • Baba is born and Ali is Adopted.

    Amir's father, Baba, grows up with Ali, who is a Hazara. Despite their brotherly relationship, Baba never "[refers] to Ali as his friend" (Hosseini 25). Their relationship serves as a template for Amir's relationship with Hassan, Ali's son. Baba's reluctance to call Ali his friend is due to concern with his own status.
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    The Kite Runner

  • Assef Threatens Hassan and Amir

    The day after Zahir Shah is overthrown, Amir and Hassan are harrassed by Assef, a relentless neighborhood bully. Hassan uses his slingshot to defend Amir, and Assef vows to get back at them. Despite this bravery, Amir's thoughts still say, "But he's not my friend! He's my servant!" (Hosseini 41). In anticipation of another threat to Hassan, Amir has the opportunity to strengthen their relationship and prepare himself to stand up for Hassan one day, but he never does.
  • Hassan's Birthday

    For Hassan's birthday, Baba buys the surgery to fix his harelip. Amir envies Hassan, because that day he receives more sympathy from Baba than Amir ever has. "Hassan hadn't done anything to earn Baba's affections," so Amir becomes even more determined to get respect from Baba, no matter the cost (Hosseini 46).
  • Kite Running and Hassan's Rape

    After winning a kite running competition in Kabul, Amir searches for Hassan, who went to retreive the kite for him. He sees Hassan get beaten and raped by Assef for refusing to give him the kite. Amir has the chance to stand up for him, but he decides Hassan is "the price [he had] to pay... to win Baba" (Hosseini 77). Amir earns Baba's respect, but not without a lifetime of guilt for letting Hassan be tramatized.
  • Amir's Thirteenth Birthday Party

    Amir hides away from the party to avoide Assef, who gives him a biography of Hitler. From his window, Amir glimpses "Assef grinning, kneading Hassan in the chest with a knuckle" (Hosseini 100). This moment shows the stark contrasts of Amir and Assef's moral priorites. While Assef feels empowered knowing what he did to Hassan, Amir feels immense guilt over letting it all happen.
  • Ali and Hassan Leave

    Overwhelmed with guilt, Amir plants his new watch under Hassan's mattress. Hassan eventually admits he took it, knowing Amir would get in trouble if he didn't confess. Baba forgives him, but Ali goes to Hazarajat with Hassan, leaving Baba in tears. Amir is stunned by his father's reaction, "the pain in his plea, the fear" (Hosseini 107). In spite of the pain he is causing, Amir selfishly lets them leave and once again chooses himself over others.
  • Soviet Invasion Begins

    After years of Russian influence in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union sent their soldiers to Kabul "to assist Babrak Karmal, who had become president in a coup within the Afghan Communist leadership" (2)
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    History of Afghanistan

  • Amir and Baba Flee From Afghanistan

    On this day, Amir and Baba are smuggled out of the country, leaving their house "as if [they] were going out for a bite" (Hosseini 112). The fact that they found such an opportunity to leave Afghanistan shows that last sign of power Baba has. From now on, Baba will lose his socioeconomic status due to the cultural shift in America.
  • Baba is Diagnosed With Cancer

    SInce arriving in America, Amir has gained a significant amount of respect from Baba, because he is better suited to the culture. When Baba's diagnosed with brain cancer, Baba maintains his stubborn attitude and tells Amir never to "challenge [him] in public," (Hosseini 156). This exhibits the last real power that Baba has in the relationship, he soon becomes completely dependent on Amir due to his illness. Amir must also take on new responsibilities.
  • Amir and Soraya Get Married

    Before Amir marries Soraya, she tells Amir of her running away with another man years before. Despite this, Amir loves her and realizes they both have a lot of regrets. He concludes that she deals with her regrets better than he does for many reasons, and "courage was just one of them" (Hosseini 165). Amir's relationship with Soraya gives him the push he needs to be open to atonement. She inspires him to seek closure.
  • Baba Dies

    Baba dies in his sleep a month after Amir's wedding. The event causes Amir to reflect on Baba's life, viewing him as an inspiration. He comes to the conclusion that "[He'd] have the find [a way] on [his] own" (Hosseint 174). Baba's death forces Amir to take complete control of his life. Amir is always now responsible for all his actions, but Baba's death is what makes him realize this.
  • Soviet Invasion Ends

    Nine years of conflict and losing thousands of lives end with "peace talks moderated by the United Nations," which caused "the last Soviet troops [to leave] Afghanistan" (2).
  • Afghanistan Civil War Starts

    Once the Invasion ended, Afghanistan found itself in ruins, left to be controlled "anarchically... among competing warlords and individual fiefdoms" (2).
  • Pakistan Involvement with Taliban Begins

    As the Taliban gained popularity, Pakistan, just to the east of Afghanistan, began "funneling arms, money and supplies to Mullah Omar's men, as well as military advisors..." (2).
  • Taliban Movement Grows

    Mullah Omar was a student movement leader who "had nearly 12,000 followers" (2) that was killing warlords in attempt to bring Islam back into "daily life" (2).
  • Bin Laden Given Refuge by Taliban

    The Al Qaeda leader arrives "by chartered jet at Jalalabad Airport" (3) and is provided with safety by the Taliban.
  • Taliban Rule Begins

    With Pakistan on their side, the Talbian take over Afghanistan, creating strict Islam-based laws , "banning movies and music nd forcing women out of schools and into all-enveloping burqa clothing" (3).
  • Rahim Khan Convinces Amir to Come to Pakistan

    Baba's business partner, Rahim Khan, is very ill. He calls Amir to come to Pakistan and tells him everything, including Hassan's execution five months prior as well as Hassan being Amir's half-borther. When he asks Amir to find Hassan's son, Sohrab, Amir responds with, "Why me? Why can't you pay someone here to go?" (Hosseini 221). This shows that Amir has a tendency to make decisions before weighing the consequences. This has been resulting in guilt his whole life.
  • Amir Confronts Assef

    Assef, now a member of the Taliban, has abused Sohrab after taking him from the orphanage. He agrees to let Sohrab go if he beat Amir. The fight left him physically "broken," but he "felt healed" (Hosseini 289). Standing up for Sohrab and getting beaten for him gave Amir the atonement he needed. It wouldn't rid him of his guilt, but shows a powerful change in personality for Amir. He finally realizes that doing the right thing ultimately feels better than doing the wrong thing.
  • Sohrab Attempts Suicide

    After Amir tells Sohrab he may have to send him to an orphanage again, Sohrab attempts suicide by slitting his wrists. Amir receives word from Soraya that they could go to America instead, but finds Sohrab unconscious in the bathroom. At the hospital, Amir takes out his prayer rug and realizes he hasn't "prayed in over fifteen years" (345). In such desperate circumstances, Amir looks to religion for hope, when he hasn't felt the need to in all those years.
  • 9/11

    Al Qaeda attacks the World Trade Center in New York City. After, "president George W. Bush gave the Taliban the ultimatum to hand over Bin Laden," (3) which was not accepted.
  • Taliban Defeated

    As a result of the 9/11 attacks, the United States join "forces with rebel groups" (3) and "[drive] the Taliban out of the major Afghan cities..." (3).
  • Amir and Sohrab Arrive in California.

    When Amir and Sohrab finally arrive in America, Soraya greets them with open arms. Her loving attitude towards Sohrab gives Amir "a glimpse of the mother she might have been" (Hosseini 358). Even with a warm welcome from Soraya, Sohrab is avoidant of both her and Amir. This event shows how deeply wounded Sohrab was by the past few years, and the extreme disappointment Soraya inevitably feels at this, since she treats him like a son.
  • Amir Goes Kite Running with Sohrab

    At Lake Elizabeth Park in Fremont, California, Amir shows Sohrab how to run a kite. Sohrab still doesn't speak, but Amir notices "a smile. Lopsided" (Hosseini 370). The smile is barely noticeable, but it signifies a steady shift in his relationship with Amir. It shows the first step to forgiving Amir and how they can both move on from the past.
  • Karzai Elected President

    Hamid Karzai, who supported Mohammad Zahir Shah, the king, is "named chairman of an interim government that replaced the defeated Taliban" (3) after his exile. He was fairly elected for a "five-year term" (3) three years later
  • Obama Announces Additional Troops to be Deployed

    President Obama plans to "widen United States involvement" by sending "30,000 additional troops" (4) to counter Taliban actions in Afghanistan. He promises troops will be sent home by the middle of 2011.
  • Return of U.S. Troops Postponed

    The Obama administration takes a different stance and "increasingly [emphasizes] the idea that the United States will have forces in the country until at least the end of 2014" in order to assure theTaliban are driven out once again.