Kite Runner and the History of Afghanistan

  • Baba's family adopt Ali

    Baba's family adopt Ali
    After Ali's parents were killed in a car accident, "[Amir's] grandfather adopted him into his own household and told the other servants to tutor him, but to be kind to him" (25). Ali and Baba grew up together but their relationship could never socially be accepted due to their differences in religion and ethnicity. Ali was always treated as less than Baba, had fewer opportunities, and privileges by the society that deemed power off of religion and ethnic groups that one could not easily change.
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    Kite Runner and the History of Afghanistan- Event Timeline

  • Baba builds an orphanage

    Baba builds an orphanage
    People in Afghanistan always doubted Baba's abilities to pay for and build a "two-story orphanage, just off the main strip of Jadeh Maywand south of the Kabul river, with his own money" (13). Baba always acted in defiance and disbelief of others. He was a very prideful, boastful, and proud man who garnered energy from personal success; however, when he fathered an illegitimate son, he couldn't flaunt that side of his life. This generated feelings of resentment towards himself and passively Amir.
  • Hassan stands up for Amir against Assef

    Hassan stands up for Amir against Assef
    Assef and his gang cornered Amir and Hassan and attempted to beat Amir up until Hassan whipped out his slingshot and "pulled the wide elastic band all the way back. In the cup was a rock the size of a walnut" (42). Hassan was always an extremely selfless person, perhaps some part due to his ingrained manner and personality. He would do anything for Amir even if it meant he would get hurt. The only problem was that from Amir's point of jealousy and panic he would never do the same.
  • Amir discovers his gift for story telling

    Amir discovers his gift for story telling
    Amir unwittingly unveiled his gift for storytelling when he played "a little trick on Hassan. [He] was reading to him and suddenly [He] strayed from the written story...'" That's the best story you've read me in a long time"' (30). This talent would later serve Amir as a career and a way to heal from his mistakes. Words were both a savior and a devil to remind him of the pain he caused others. Language was something he could control in his life and a privilege he could hold above others.
  • Hassan has his cleft lip repaired

    Hassan has his cleft lip repaired
    On Hassan's birthday, Baba introduces him to "Dr. Kuman [who] is a plastic surgeon" (44). Getting his cleft lip repaired can restore some power to Hassan, while also building his confidence to speak with other boys, disregarding their religion and ethnicity. Ironically at the end of the book, after Amir's fight with Assef, he splits his lip down the middle, just like a cleft lip. He later has to have it fixed and it reminds him of his old relationship with Hassan and his lesson of irony.
  • Hassan's assault by Assef and accomplices

    Hassan's assault by Assef and accomplices
    Amir goes looking for Hassan, after the tournament, and finds him cornered in an alley being attacked and eventually raped by Assef and his gang. Instead of stepping in and being an upstander, Amir considers that he, "could step into the alley, stand up for Hassan-the way he'd stood up for me all those times in the past..." (76). Yet, he doesn't. Amir's lack of confrontation always worried Baba. But due to their different social standings, Amir doesn't feel the need to stand up for a "Hazara."
  • Amir (and Hassan) win the Kite Fighting Tournament

    Amir (and Hassan) win the Kite Fighting Tournament
    After Amir wins the kite-fighting tournament he looks up to see, "Baba on [his] roof... standing on the edge pumping both fists" (66). This is the only accomplishment in Amir's eyes that can get Baba's attention and affection. It makes Baba, for a second, not hold his resentment and mistakes against Amir. Baba can finally feel publicly proud of his licit son and not shameful of Amir's lack of initiative.
  • Hassan and Ali leave Kabul

    Hassan and Ali leave Kabul
    After Amir hides his birthday money and watch in Hassan's mattress, he watches as "Baba [takes] Ali and Hassan to the bus station" (108). During this moment, Amir realizes he's become an indecent person when trying to vie for his father's affection. He has breached all the morals he was taught by Baba and justifies his actions with evil afterthoughts of Hazaras. The inground sense of entitlement is due in part to how society treats him differently, being a Pashtun member of the upper class.
  • Soviet Invasion

    Soviet Invasion
    The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union who claimed "to assist Babrak Karmal, who had become president in a coup within the Afghan Communist leadership. (The New York Times).
  • Amir and Baba escape Afghanistan during occupation

    Amir and Baba escape Afghanistan during occupation
    The rafiqs, take over Kabul; Baba and Amir escape to "Jalalabad, about 170 miles southeast of Kabul, where his brother, Toor, who had a bigger truck with a second convoy of refugees, was waiting to drive us across Khyber Pass and into Peshawar" (111). Kabul and much of Afghanistan along with the aging Baba have changed since the Russian occupation. Escaping Afghanistan means that Baba will lose all his life's work, prestige, and good name, he must start over again in a new country.
  • Amir graduates high school and later on college

    Amir graduates high school and later on college
    After several years of adjusting to life in America, Amir "graduate[s] from high school at the age of twenty..." (130). With his American education and knowledge, the power shifts between Baba and Amir. Since Baba refuses to accept some differences in the way of living, he continues to act like he's in Afghanistan. Amir has more power than Baba now because he knows English, can communicate, and eventually find a higher level job than what Baba currently has.
  • Soviet Union Occupation

    Soviet Union Occupation
    The Soviet Union invested thousands of lives and billions of rubles trying to keep an image of invincibility but, "were also rendered largely useless by advanced Stinger antiaircraft missiles supplied by the United States to the rebels" (The New Tork Times).
  • Baba's lung cancer and eventually death

    Baba's lung cancer and eventually death
    After years of going to the flea market and working, Baba is diagnosed with "oat cell carcinoma" (156). This cancer represents the reconciliation between Baba and Amir since their move from Afghanistan. In Afghanistan Baba never had to depend on anybody for anything but now in America Amir is his only means of communication. Because of this, they're on better terms and even have their own weekend custom together. In addition, Baba's impending death forces Amir to face reality and grow up.
  • Soraya and Amir's Marriage

    Soraya and Amir's Marriage
    Amir and Soraya have a wedding ceremony; however, they miss their engagement period due to Baba's declining health. Soraya appears in the ceremony in a "wine- colored traditional Afghan dress ith long sleeves and gold trimmings." (168). With Baba's impending death, Amir's marriage will leave him with a loved one and family he knows he'll be able to depend on. Lastly, Baba gets to die with peace of mind knowing his son won't be lonely for the rest of his life, cared for, and looked after.
  • Soviet Troops leave Afghanistan

    Soviet Troops leave Afghanistan
    In an effort to make a unilateral withdrawal from Afghanistan, in "peace talks moderated by the United Nations, the last Soviet troops left Afghanistan in February 1989..."
  • Soraya and Amir try to have child

    Soraya and Amir try to have child
    Shortly after getting his first book published, Amir and Soraya try to conceive a child, when they have difficulties they see doctors and Amir passes with "flying colors" but Soraya has '"unexplained infertility'" (185). Amir believes this to be karma for his previous actions decades ago and a cruel retaliation by god, for when he wasn't an upstander to Hassan's rape, God deemed him unworthy of being a birth father to a child. He believes he's getting his punishment now for his sins.
  • The Start of the Taliban Takeover

    The Start of the Taliban Takeover
    The Taliban evolved from a Pashtun student movement wanting to purify their country and "had nearly 12,000 followers...With [the] promise of restoring the centrality of Islam to daily life, [they] created a genuinly popular movement in a country weary of corruption and brutality" (The New York Times).
  • Taliban Control

    Taliban Control
    After years of civil war, the Taliban, "seized control" and granted Al Qaeda a safe haven in Afghanistan. (The New Tork Times).
  • U.S Invasion and Military Forces

     U.S Invasion and Military Forces
    The U.S' invasion "succeeded in dislodging Al Qaeda and removing the Taliban from power, but not eradicating either group" (The New York Times).
  • Amir returns to Afghanistan to see Rahim Khan

    Amir returns to Afghanistan to see Rahim Khan
    Rahim Khan tells Amir how different Afghanistan has become since he left, his imminent death, and how he lived with Hassan in Baba's house. Since Amir's departure, Hassan had grown up, gotten married, and had a child. Rahim Khan recounted Hassan's fatherhood to Amir, and finally when the Talibs "shot [Hassan] in the back of the head" (219). Due to this event, Amir believes he'll never be able to reconcile with his actions and atone for his sins. This opportunity comes in a different way.
  • Amir is beaten by Assef but rescues Sohrab

    Amir is beaten by Assef but rescues Sohrab
    Amir goes to the Wazir-Akbar Khan to find and rescue Sohrab. He is badly beaten by Assef, the Taliban officer, but Sohrab saves him with his slingshot. Amir manages to "stumble down the hallway, Sohrab's little hand in [his]" (291). When Amir couldn't have his own child, fate gave him Hassan's child. Amir learns to care in a fatherly way and is no longer as haunted by his past. Amir believes he has finally atoned for his sins well enough to move on with his life.
  • Post 9/11 Attacks on United States

    Post 9/11 Attacks on United States
    The United States became militarily involved, "after the 9/11 attacks by Al Qaeda," in Afghanistan (The New York Times).
  • Sohrab finally smiles

    Sohrab finally smiles
    After his adoption, Sohrab never speaks to Soraya which makes her very sad; however, when they enter a kite flying contest and win. Amir sees that "one corner of [Sohrab's] mouth had curled up just so. A smile" (370). Sohrab's deep pain from losing his parents, living in orphanages, and being forced to move caused grief. This all changes after he does something that he truly enjoyed and reminds him of his father. He then understood that Amir and Soraya cared deeply about him, as his parents had.
  • General Petraeus Takes Charge of United States Central Command

    General Petraeus Takes Charge of United States Central Command
    An Iraq commander named General Petraeus, who was accredited with a successful surge, took "charge of United States Central Command in October 2008, with responsibility for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the region (The New York Times).
  • Obama Administration Military Occupation

    Obama Administration Military Occupation
    The Obama administration promised to start bringing troops home in 2011; however, they "increasingly emphasized the idea that the United States will have forces in the country until at least the end of 2014" to show Afghans that the U.S isn't surrendering and intimidate the Taliban (The New York Times).
  • Obama's Plan to Deploy More Troops

    Obama's Plan to Deploy More Troops
    In a speech given by President Obama on December 1, 2009, he "announced his plan to deploy 30,000 additional troops" in Afghanistan (The New York Times).