Kite Runner & the History of Afghanistan

  • Period: to

    Allowed Timespan of Events

  • First Gunshot in Kabul

    While Amir is telling Hassan a story, "something [roars] like thunder. The earth [shakes] a little and we [hear] the rat-a-tat-tat of gunfire" (Hosseini 36). While this marks a drastic change in Kabul for the worse, it is also the point in the story where trouble starts to come for Amir and Hassan. Shortly after this, they face Assef for the first time, and Hassan defends himself and Amir. However, this later leads to Hassan's rape as punishment.
  • Kabul Kite Tournament and Hassan's Rape

    After Amir runs away from Hassan's rape so he can make Baba proud with the fallen kite, "[Hassan begins] to say something and his voice [cracks] ... And that was as close as Hassan and [Amir] ever [come] to discussing [Hassan's rape]" (Hosseini 78). Hassan does not acknowledge that Amir saw the rape, but even if he did know, he would most likely forgive Amir. The worst part for Amir is Hassan's utter loyalty, because Amir does not deserve it. If Hassan were mad, that turn out better for the two.
  • Amir Framing Hassan so He Will Leave

    As a result of Amir's guilt, he frames Hassan for stealing his watch. When Hassan lies and admits to doing so, "[Amir understood]. This was Hassan's final sacrifice for [Amir] ... [Hassan] knew [Amir had] seen everything in that alley" (Hosseini 105). Amir is right to infer this, but he is wrong that taking the blame is Hassan's last sacrifice for Amir. Hassan will later die defending Amir's home, which shows that there are some acts Amir could never atone for unless he died for them.
  • Mohammed Daoud Khan Killed

    The Prime Minister of Afghanistan, a pro-Soviet, "is killed in a Communist coup", which leads the country away from Soviet influence (PBS 1).
  • Soviet Communist Takeover

    In 1979, the USSR "invades Afghanistan and sets up a Communist government" (TIME For Kids 6).
  • Baba and Amir Escape From Afghanistan

    While Baba and Amir are escaping from Afghanistan, a Russian soldier they meet "[wants] a half hour with [a young mother escaping with them] in the back of the truck" (Hosseini 115). Baba responds to this by almost sacrificing his own life so that the woman will not get raped. Seeing as that is his reaction to the possible rape of a stranger, it is scary to imagine what Baba might have done if he had known about Hassan's rape and Amir's betrayal.
  • Afghans Flee

    Because of the political turbulence and war, "some 2.8 million Afghans have fled ... to Pakistan, and another 1.5 million have fled to Iran" by 1982 (PBS 1).
  • Amir Graduates From High School

    Two years after leaving Kabul, "[Amir graduates] from high school at the age of twenty, by far the oldest senior tossing his mortarboard on the football field that day" (Hosseini 131). Amir is twenty, and Baba is no longer rich. It would be reasonable for Baba to make Amir to get a job, but instead Baba pushes for Amir's education. This marks a power shift as Amir will go to school and have more opportunity than Baba. Perhaps Baba values education so much since Sofia was a university professor.
  • Amir Marries Soraya

    Even at his wedding, what should have been the happiest day of his life, "[Amir remembers] wondering if Hassan too had married. And if so, whose face had he seen in the mirror under the veil?" (Hosseini 171). Amir has moved thousands of miles away, but he still cannot forgive himself for what he did to Hassan. At this point the reader can assume that a culmination of atonement has to come for the story to end.
  • Baba Dies

    Before Baba dies from cancer in his sleep, he says, "there is no pain tonight" (Hosseini 173). Baba has made peace with his dying self by first refusing chemo and radiation and now refusing pain medication. This ties into the theme of the importance of being at peace and forgiveness, as Baba, often a belligerent man, dies peacefully.
  • Geneva Peace Accord

    As a result of the troubling situation, "the U.S., Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Soviet Union sign peace accords in Geneva guaranteeing Afghan independence and the withdrawal of 100,000 Soviet troops" (PBS 1).
  • End of Soviet Rule

    Ten years after the Communist takeover, "the Soviets are driven out by Afghan fighters called mujahedin" (TIME For Kids 6).
  • Taliban Takeover

    An extremist group called the Taliban "seizes control of Kabul and spreads its control across [Afghanistan]" (TIME For Kids 7).
  • Rahim Khan Calls Amir

    After years without communication, "Rahim Khan [calls] from Pakistan. He [asks Amir] to come see him ... it wasn't just Rahim Khan on the line. It was [Amir's] past of unatoned sins" (Hosseini 1). Until now, Amir seemed in denial. He was avoiding Hassan in the United States, but this is the turning point. It marks the end of Amir's past and the beginning of his future, possibly as a better man.
  • Amir Finds Out About Hassan

    When Amir visits Rahim Khan in Pakistan, Rahim Khan tells him that Hassan is Amir's half-brother. However, Amir resists this information at first, saying "[he begins] to see where [Rahim Khan is] going. But [Amir does not] want to hear the rest of it. [He has] a good life in California" (Hosseini 222). Amir does not realize yet how heavily his life in California is plagued by his unresolved past in Afghanistan. He still does not wish to acknowledge what happened out loud, but now he has to.
  • Amir Visits Farid and Wahid's House

    When Amir goes to his driver's family's house in Afghanistan, he thinks the children are envious of his watch. Later he understands that "they hadn't been staring at the watch at all. They'd been staring at [Amir's] food" (Hosseini 241). Only now does Amir begin to realize the drastic condition that Afghanistan is in. Even when he lived there, Amir was a rich boy sheltered from the harsh reality others faced. Now he will see the other, but not entirely new, side of Afghanistan.
  • Amir and Farid Visit the Orphanage

    When Amir and Farid find out that the orphanage director lets the Taliban take children from him, Farid in particular is very angry. However, the director insists "'there's nothing [he] can do to stop it'" (Hosseini 256). While the director could try to stop the human trafficking, it would only result in his murder. The citizens of Kabul are trapped, and they can do nothing but comply. This man dedicates his life to these children, but it still is not enough under Taliban Afghanistan.
  • Amir Fights Assef

    While Amir is fighting Assef over Sohrab, he is losing badly. Eventually Sohrab aims his slingshot at Assef's eye, and when "[Assef puts] his hand where his eye had been just a moment ago", he finds blood and vitreous fluid there instead (Hosseini 291). This is a circle in time coming back to the moment when Hassan threatened to take out Assef's eye with a slingshot. This fight with Assef over Sohrab signifies what would have happened if Amir had tried to stop Hassan's rape.
  • Sohrab Attempts Suicide

    After Amir admits that Sohrab may have to stay in an orphanage while the officials figure out how to get him to the US, "[Amir is] on [his knees], screaming" when he finds Sohrab almost dead (Hosseini 343). Sohrab was so against an orphanage that he must have suffered a lot of trauma at his previous one. Sohrab is too young to understand that his other options are worse, but he has been through too much for a little boy. Even though Amir and Sohrab beat Assef, Sohrab is still scarred for life.
  • Amir and Sohrab Return to America

    By the end of the novel, "[Amir and Sohrab had] arrived home about seven months ago, on a warm day in August 2001" (Hosseini 316). Earlier Amir had said that Sohrab did not speak for almost a year after he got out of the hospital in Pakistan, so there is hope at the end of the novel that he will speak soon. This brings new meaning to the smile and coming to America.
  • US Removal of the Taliban From Power

    Since the Taliban is protecting al-Qaeda, the group responsible for 9/11, the United States's "forces invade Afghanistan and remove the Taliban from power. The Taliban retains control over many remote areas" (TIME For Kids 8).
  • Kite Running in California

    When Amir offers to run a kite for Sohrab back in California, Amir says, "for you, a thousand times over" (Hosseini 371). This repeats what Hassan said to Amir before retrieving the kite that would lead to his rape. This signifies the full circle of symbolism and mirroring events, which brings the reader back to the happier times early in the novel.
  • New Constitution

    After the Taliban loses power, "Afghanistan adopts a new constitution" (TIME For Kids 9).
  • New President in Democratic Election

    Afghanistan holds its first democratic election of a president, and "Afghans elect Hamid Karzai" (TIME For Kids 9).
  • US Plans to Withdraw Troops

    Three years after his election, "U.S. president Barack Obama announces that the U.S. will begin withdrawing some of its troops from Afghanistan" (TIME For Kids 10).