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Kite Runner Timeline

  • Baba is born

    1933 was the year that Amir's father "Baba was born and the year Zahir Shah began his forty-year reign of Afghanistan, two brothers ... struck and killed a Hazara husband and wife ... as for the orphan, [Amir's] grandfather adopted him" (Hosseini 24). This esablishes the setting that Baba grew up in, and how he became close with Ali. This is significant because the car accident is what led to their relationship, and further down the line led to Hassan and Amir's relationship.
  • Period: to

    Events of The Kite Runner

  • Amir is born

    Amir says that Hassan was born in "1964, just one year after [his] mother died giving birth to [him]" making his birth year 1963 (Hosseini 6). He is the protagonist, so his birth is the beginning of his personal experiences. Everything from before 1963 was probably told to him by someone else. The mention of his mother dying comes back later as a source of guilt, because to him, he took Sofia away from Baba.
  • Hassan is born

    Amir describes a "small shack" as being the place "that Hassan was born in the winter of 1964" (Hosseini 6). Hassan's birth is significant to the plot because it begins Amir and Hassan's relationship. Furthermore, the fact that Hassan was born in a shack emphasized the difference in status between him and Amir.
  • Baba builds an orphanage

    When Amir "was five or six, Baba decided to build an orphanage ... Baba succeeded and everyone shook their heads in awe at hs triumphant ways" (Hosseini 13). Here, Baba shows his softer side by doing something truly kind. Baba is usually portrayed as a tough, strong man who isn't afraid of anything, but this helps to characterize him as caring and loving. It is shown later that he may have been doing all of his good deeds to atone for his sins, including his illegitimate Hazara child, Hassan.
  • Hassan gets surgery

    Baba brings Hassan to a doctor as a present, telling him "'Hassan,' Baba said, smiling coyly, 'meet your birthday present'... Dr. Kumar said, "my job is to fix things on people's faces'" (Hosseini 45). Here, Baba decides to gift Hassan by fixing his cleft lip. Because he does this, he reveals that, while he loves Hassan, we wants him to be more perfect. Hassan appreciates the gift, but while it is supposed to give him a better smile, he stops smiling shortly thereafter.
  • Amir runs away from Hassan's rape

    Amir sees Assef raping Hassan in an alleyway, but instead of intervening he "stopped watching, turned away from the alley... [he] could step into that alley, stand up for Hassan... in the end, [he] ran" (Hosseini 77). Here, Amir has the opportunity to stop something horrible from happening, but he cannot find the courage to do so. This shapes the rest of the book, as he is plagued by guilt about not doing anything for years after.
  • The Kite Running competition

    Amir explains that "In the winter of 1975, [he] saw Hassan run a kite for the last time. Usually, each neighborhood held its own competition. But that year, the tournament was going to be held in my neighborhood... Word had it this was going to be the biggest tournament in twenty-five years" (Hosseini 55). Here, Amir appears to be excited about the kite running competition, and he speaks of it as an important event. This foreshadows how crucial it will be to him, how he would do anything to win.
  • Hassan and Ali leave

    A year after Hassan is raped, Ali makes a decision and tells Baba "'We are leaving, Agha Sahib,' Ali said. 'What?' Baba said, the color draining from his face'" (Hosseini 106). Here, Ali and Hassan finally decide to get away from what their life has now become, and leave. This means that Amir may never get his opportunity at atonement, because the very person he was guilty about is gone from his life. He must live with the guilt.
  • Afghanistan invaded by Soviet Union

    Afghanistan invaded by Soviet Union
    Afghanistan's turmoil can be traced to when "[t]he first Soviet troops parachuted into Kabul on Dec. 27, 1979, to assist Babrak Karmal, who had become president in a coup within the Afghan Communist leadership" (New York Times).
  • Amir and Baba leave Afghanistan

    After their country is invaded, Amir and Baba "le[ave] Kabul just after two in the morning... 'We are two close to Kabul,' [the driver] shot back, 'tell him to have a strong stomach'" (Hosseini 110-111). Here, Baba and Amir leave behind their whole life. Moving to America was a risk, but the had to do it for survival.
  • Baba uses charity money

    Baba, unable to pay for food, "ended those humiliating food stamp moments at the cash register and alleviated one of his greatest fears: that an Afghan would see him buying food with charity money" (Hosseini 131). Here, Baba must face his greatest fear, which is having to use borrowed money in front of another person from his home country. He sees this as losing his dignity, yet he still faces it head on, showing that he cares more for Amir and his well being than his social status..
  • Amir meets Soraya

    In the market, Amir runs into a woman who "had a brown, sickle-shaped birthmark on the smooth skin just above her left jawline. She walked to a dull gray van two isles away... For the rest of the day, I fought the urge to look toward the gray van" (Hosseini 140-141). In this moment, he becomes enchanted by his soon-to-be-wife. This is the first time Amir meets Soraya, and he has no idea yet how influential she will be in his life.
  • Baba gets cancer

    After Baba has had some respiratory problems, he is taken to the doctor and told "'He's got a spot on his right lung. I want them to check it out.' 'A spot?' I said, the room suddenly too small. 'Cancer'" (Hosseini 154)? Here, Baba receives what is a death sentence to him, because as an Afghan he does not want treatment, even with the knowledge that he would die. This means that Amir will no longer have his father watching over him, because he will have to watch over Baba instead.
  • Amir marries Soraya

    On his deathbed, "Baba spent $35,000, nearly the balance of his life savings, on the awroussi, the wedding ceremony... And I remember wondering if Hassan too had married" (Hosseini 169-171). Here, Amir is given a proper wedding with Soraya, but he just can't get away from his past. Baba, in one last fatherly gesture, pays for the ceremony. As Amir is married to Soraya, the first thing on his mind is Hassan, showing that he is still guilty.
  • United States helps rebels in Afghanistan

    United States helps rebels in Afghanistan
    In an effort to fight against the Soviet Union, "after 1986, the Soviet Air Force was also rendered largely useless by advanced Stinger antiaircraft missiles supplied by the United States to the rebels" (New York Times)
  • Rahim Khan goes to Hazarajat

    Rahim Khan, retelling his story, tells Amir that "There were a lot of reasons why [he] went to Hazarajat to find Hassan in 1986. The biggest one... was that [he] was lonely" (Hosseini 203). Here, Rahim Khan finally explains to Amir what happened between when Baba and Amir left in 1981 and 2001. He reveals that life was lonely without his friend Baba, so he looked for the last person still in Afghanistan: Hassan.
  • Soviet Union leaves Afghanistan

    Soviet Union leaves Afghanistan
    The United Nations arranged peace discussions which lead to "the last Soviet troops le[aving] Afghanistan in February 1989, in what was in effect a unilateral withdrawal" (New York Times).
  • Afghanistan falls into chaos

    Afghanistan falls into chaos
    Once the Soviet Union had left Afghanistan, the country "descended into vicious internecine strife; by the summer of 1994, power was anarchically divided among competing warlords and individual fiefdoms" (New York Times).
  • Pakistani helps Mullah Omar

    Pakistani helps Mullah Omar
    In 1994, after Mullah Omar had gathered a following, "Pakistani intelligence officers began funneling arms, money and supplies to Mullah Omar's men, as well as military advisers to help guide them in battle" (New York Times).
  • Taliban seizes control of Afghanistan

    Taliban seizes control of Afghanistan
    The Taliban is described as "the extremist Islamic group that had seized control in 1996 after years of civil war" (New York Times).
  • Osama Bin Laden aided by Taliban

    Osama Bin Laden aided by Taliban
    Osama Bin Laden was helped by "The Taliban [who] also provided a haven for Mr. bin Laden, who arrived by chartered jet at Jalalabad Airport in May 1996, and for Al Qaeda" (New York Times).
  • Taliban Revival

    Taliban Revival
    After having a decline in 2001, "the Taliban regrouped and began to extend its influence in the southern part of Afghanistan" (New York Times)
  • Rahim Khan contacts Amir

    Soraya, concerned about her husband, asks him what is wrong, and Amir suddenly replies "'I have to go to Pakistan.' She stood up now. 'Pakistan?' 'Rahim Khan is very sick'" (Hosseini 191). Here, Amir shows that he has not yet let go of his past. It's been twenty years since he left his home for America, yet he is still willing to leave for Rahim Khan at the drop of a hat. The fact that Rahim Khan is sick suggests that, shortly after Baba's death, Amir will lose another father figure.
  • 9/11 attacks on the world trade center

    9/11 attacks on the world trade center
    The U.S. went to war against Afghanistan in "2001, when it led an invasion after the Sept. 11 attacks by Al Qaeda" (New York Times).
  • Hamid Karzai made leader of Afghanistan

    Hamid Karzai made leader of Afghanistan
    In December 2001, Hamid Karzai, a supporter and relative of Mohammad Zahir Shah, the exiled former king of Afghanistan, was named chairman of an interim government that replaced the defeated Taliban, making him the leader of the country.