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Kite Runner & The History of Afghanistan

  • Sandbar Elopes

    Sanaubar leaves Hassan and Baba/Ali for a "band of singers and dancers in 1964, just after she had given birth to Hassan" (Hosseini 210). After giving birth to Baba's child, she "[l]ost her fate most Afghans considered far worse than death: She ran off with a clan of traveling singers and dancers" (Hosseini 6). Leaving Hassan motherless most likely impacted the storyline greatly.
  • The Night of July 17, 1973

    Amir and Hassan hear gunfire, which apparently signaled the "end[ing of] the king's forty-year reign with a bloodless coup" (Hosseini 36). In the book, this is the event that begins the reign of violence that eventually forces Amir and Baba to flee.
  • Baba gives Hassan Cleft Lip Surgery for His Birthday

    For his birthday, Baba hires a doctor to fix Hassan's cleft lip. Baba had "summoned Dr. Kumar from New Delhi. Dr. Kumar [was] a plastic surgeon" (Hosseini 45). This is an important event in the book because it is one the first signs of a connection between Baba and Hassan.
  • Hassan is Raped (Winter of 1975)

    Hassan is raped by Assef, and Amir does not stop him because he wants to earn Baba's affection. Amir justifies his action by associating Hassan to the sacrificial lamb in his memories. This event is significant because it is a turning point in Amir's relationship with Hassan.
  • Hassan and Ali Leave

    With Hassan, Ali tells Baba that they are going to leave, saying, "We are leaving, Agha sahib ... [w]e can't live here anymore ... [l]ife here is impossible for us now, Agha sahib" (Hosseini 106). Because of their departure, Amir loses his first chance of reconciliation his crimes, and it haunts him for years to come.
  • Period: to

    History of Afghanistan 1979-2011

    An overview that describes the events that happened in Afghanistan over a 3.5 decade timespan, from the Soviet Invasion until the end of the war when the Obama Administration retrieved troops deployed there in 2014.
  • Soviet Invasion and After

    "Three decades ago, Afghanistan was a stable, relatively prosperous and secular country," (The New York Times), but after the first Soviet Troops parachuted into Afghanistan to assist the new president, Babrak Karmal, who had become one in a coup with the Afghan Communist Leadership, the once prosperous and fairly peaceful Afghanistan was ridden with turmoil and extremism.
  • Baba and Amir Smuggle Themselves Out Of Afghanistan

    Baba and Amir interact with other people being smuggled and encounter the high Russian soldier. Baba stands up for a women who he wants to rape, and stops him. Amir's "mind flashed to that winter day six years ago. [Him], peering around the corner in the alley ... Some hero I had been, fretting about the kite. Sometimes, I too wonder if I was really Baba's son" (Hosseini 116). Amir, realizing how different he is from his father, begins to feel even worse because of this event.
  • Baba is Banned From the Nguyens' Shop

    After turning out with no cash to buy fruits from the Nguyen shop, he writes a check and Mr. Nguyen asks for an ID. Baba becomes angry and asks, "[d]oes he think I'm a thief? ... What kind of a country is this? No one trusts anybody!" (Hosseini 128). This is important because it shows how close the communities in Afghanistan are.
  • Amir Graduates from Highschool

    Amir graduates from high school in 1983. This event is important because Baba says, "I am moftakhir, Amir" (Hosseini 131). This is important because Baba is finally proud of who his son is.
  • Amir is No Longer Perpetually Haunted in America

    For Amir, "America was a place to bury [his] memories. For Baba, a place to mourn his" (Hosseini 129). When Amir comes to America, the change of the setting causes Amir to occasionally forget the fact that he abandoned Hassan.
  • Rahim Khan Goes to Find Hassan in Hazarajat

    Rahim Khan goes to Hazarajat to find Hassan in 1986. He does because he, "was lonely. By then, most of [his] friends and relatives had either been killed or had escaped the country to Pakistan or Iran" (Hosseini 203). This is an important event because Rahim Khan eventually obtains information on Hassan's whereabouts which ultimately leads to Hassan moving into the Hazara shed in Baba's old house and, through that, a form of reconciliation for Amir through Sohrab.
  • US Supplies Advanced Anti-Aircraft Stinger Missiles to Afghanistan

    The US Supplied the Afghans with, "[a]dvanced Stinger antiaircraft missiles supplied by the United States to the rebels," (The New New York Times), which rendered the Soviet's aircraft useless.
  • Baba Dies

    Baba refuses to take medication for his cancer, telling his doctor "Thank you for that ... but no chemo medication for me" (Hosseini 156). This shows how stubborn Baba really is, as he is welcoming death to a fight with open arms.
  • Soviet Troops Leave Afghanistan

    "[A]fter peace talks moderated by the United Nations, the last Soviet troops left Afghanistan in February 1989" (The New York Times). The Soviets left Afghanistan a devastated and a beacon for islamic extremists, including Osama bin Laden.
  • Sanaubar Returns

    Farzana became pregnant again, and, on the same year, "a woman covered in a sky blue pure knocked on the front gates one morning. When [Rahim] walked up to the gates, she was swaying on her feet, like she was too weak to even stand. I asked her what she wanted, but she would not answer" (Hosseini 211). It is later revealed that the crippled woman is Sanaubar, Hassan's mother, who came back to take care of Hassan. The return of Sanaubar most likely foreshadowed future reconciliation events.
  • Mullah Omar

    By the end of 1994, Mullah Omar, who fought against the soviets, "had nearly 12,000 followers and was rolling up the warlords to the north and east" (The New York Times).
  • Taliban Takeover (1996 to 2001)

    With the aid of the Pakistani, the Taliban had taken control of Afghanistan as of 1996. The Afghans, "impos[ed] strict enforcement of fundamentalist Islamic law," and "bann[ed] movies and music and forc[ed] women out of schools and into all-enveloping burqa clothing" (The New York Times).
  • Hassan is Killed by the Taliban

    While talking to Amir, Rahim Khan illustrates the scene of Hassan's death, telling him, "[The soldiers] told Hassan they would be moving in to supposedly keep it safe until [Rahim Khan] return[ed]. Hassan protested ... So they took him to the street ... and shot him in the back of the head ... " (Hosseini 219). While Amir is trying to reconcile himself, this gets in the way because now that Hassan is dead, he is forced to find another way, and that way is through Sohrab.
  • Hamid Karzai named Chairman of A New Interim Government

    In 2001, Hamid Karzai, who was a relative of Mohammad Zahir Shah (the exiled king of Afghanistan, was "named chairman of an interim government that replaced the defeated Taliban, making him the leader of the country" (The New York Times).
  • Taliban Resurgence

    Even after the Taliban was defeated in 2001, they continued to wage guerrilla warfare from a mountain base. They regrouped and began to expand their influence in the southern part of Afghanistan, and it is said that "their rise was assisted by a resurgent opium trade, which helped to fill the group's offers" (The New York Times).
  • Amir Gets a Call From Rahim Khan

    Amir is called by Rahim Khan to Pakistan upon finding that he is "very sick" (Hosseini 191). This is important because it foreshadows the denouement and climax of the novel.
  • Amir Confronts Assef

    As a Taliban official begins questioning Amir, the official says, "[w]hatever happened to old Babalu, anyway?" (Hosseini 281). The official turned out to be Assef, and Assef had Sohrab. In the novel, this was one of the last points of conflict, and it is important because Amir was able to reconcile his sins by saving Sohrab.
  • 9/11, Attack on the World Trade Center (Twin Towers)

    The Taliban launched an "attack on the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001" (The New York Times).
  • Hamid Karzai Elected President for a 5 Year Term

    Hamid Karzai, who was named chairman of an interim government in 2001, was "elected to a five-year term as president in 2004" (The New York TImes).
  • President Obama States That American Troops Are to Be Removed From Afghanistan in 2011

    President Obama vowed to start "bringing American forces hom from Afghanistan in the middle of 2011, saying the United States could not afford and should not have to shoulder an open-ended commitment," however the Obama administration, "increasingly emphasized the idea that the United States will have forces in the country until at least the end of 2014" (The New York Times).