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Kite Runner & The History of Afghanistan (By: Anureet Chahal)

  • Period: to

    Significant Events in Afghanistan

    (Part 2)
  • The Only Sin

    Baba, who was considered a hero and leader in Kabul, believes how “there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft” (Hosseini 17). Baba immensely adheres to his belief, illustrating his strong, bold character. Throughout Amir’s life, Baba has always taught Amir this one lesson. However, when Amir discovers that Hassan was his half-brother and the biological son of Baba, Amir realizes how Baba has stolen Hassan’s and his rights to the truth, compelling Amir to question Baba’s character.
  • Relationship between Pashtuns and Hazaras

    Assef, a young bully in Kabul and Hitler’s admirer, considers Amir “a disgrace to Afghanistan” (Hosseini 41). Assef regards Hazaras as servants and unworthy, and abhors Baba and Amir promoting Hazaras. When Baba and Amir treat Ali and Hassan equally by allowing them to reside with them and showing companionship, Baba and Amir develop the relationships between Pashtuns and Hazaras.
  • Birthday Gift

    For Hassan’s birthday, Baba “summon[s] Dr. Kumar from New Delhi,...a plastic surgeon” to fix Hassan’s harelip (Hosseini 45). When Baba gifts Hassan on all his birthdays and offers him an opportunity of a lifetime, Baba hints a stronger relationship between them than what Hosseini has currently showed. As the novel progresses, Hosseini reveals how Baba was Hassan’s biological father, and all the favors and hidden love towards Hassan from Baba are explained.
  • Kite-Fighting Tournament

    Districts in Kabul held kite-fighting tournaments and Amir used this event to get closer to Baba,because for Amir, “Baba and I lived in the same house,but in different spheres of existence.Kites were the one paperthin slice of intersection between those spheres” (Hosseini 49).Amir decides to compete in the kite-fighting competition mainly because he wants to get his father’s admiration.Amir who believes has killed his mother, hopes Baba pardons him for killing his wife if he wins the tournament.
  • Atonement

    As Hassan, his loyal friend is being raped by Assef, “[Amir] stopped watching, turned away in the alley,...and ran” (Hosseini 77). Aware of how Hassan needs to be rescued, Amir simply leaves him and escapes the situation. When Amir could stand up for Hassan like Hassan did for him, Amir chooses to run and proves his cowardice. Amir chooses to ignore the situation until his guilt invades him and he decides to atone for his sins.
  • Bravery vs. Cowardice

    As Ali and Hassan leave Baba’s mansion on their way to Hazarajat, Amir “watched Baba’s car pull away from the curb, taking with it the person whose first spoken word has been my name” (Hosseini 109). Hassan sacrificed himself to Amir when he claims to steal Amir’s money and watch, instigating Ali to leave the house. Hassan’s bravery opposes Amir’s cowardice. However, with Hassan leaving, Amir is more likely to atone for sins and forgive himself.
  • General Mohammad Daud Khan

    The People's Democratic Party comes to power, after "General Daud is overthrown and killed in a pro-Soviet coup" (www.bbc.com).
  • Soviet Army

    Soviet Army, also known as the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, "invades and props up communist government" (www.bbc.com).
  • Pakistan

    Along with Kamal and his father, “[Amir and Baba] left that night [for Pakistan]” (Hosseini 121). Due to the unbearable conditions in Afghanistan, Baba and Amir flee to Pakistan in a fuel truck. In the fuel truck, Kamal dies as he is unable to breathe and his father commits suicide. When Baba leaves the country that he honored and loved, and when Kamal, Hassan’s abuser becomes abused by life, Hosseini explains the intensity of the setting.
  • Fremont, California

    Living in Fremont, California, “for [Amir] America was a place to bury [his] memories. For Baba, a place to mourn his” (Hosseini 129). Baba who dearly loved his country, Afghanistan, faces hardships forgetting his past, but continues to adjust to the new lifestyle. On the other hand, Amir is extremely thankful to America for providing him to forget his past and sins and completely afresh.
  • Cancer

    Amir and Baba pay a visit to Dr. Amani, who reveals Baba has “cancer…Oat Cell Carcinoma. Advanced. Inoperable” (Hosseini 156). Amir is shattered hearing this news and believes he can not survive alone without Baba, his support, and his fatherly love. Baba does not show any emotions and dislikes Amir crying and revealing his feelings. Baba convinces Amir how he can survive without him and all of his teachings have built Amir’s character.
  • Mujahideen

    Mujahideen, guerrilla fighters in Islamic countries, "come together in Pakistan to form alliance against Soviet forces" (www.bbc.com).
  • Death

    A month after Amir and Soraya’s marriage, Baba’s cancer defeats him, and he “never woke up” (Hosseini 173). Amir is terrified of not having Baba around to show him the ways of life. At Baba’s funeral, Amir realizes how much of who he was had been defined by Baba and his marks on people’s lives. Even after Baba’s death, the plot of the novel is affected by Baba’s actions and statements.
  • Incomplete Marriage

    After numerous visits to doctors, Amir and Soraya are compelled to continue living life without having their own baby, and Amir feels the emptiness in Soraya’s womb “seeping into [their] marriage,...into our laughs, and our lovemaking” (Hosseini 189). Amir and Soraya's marriage is incomplete to themselves and society, as they do not have a child. When Amir and Soraya can not become parents to their own child, they feel a drift in their relationship.
  • Peace Accords and Troops

    While Afghanistan, USSR, the US and Pakistan sign peace accords, "soviet Union begins pulling out troops" (www.bbc.com)
  • Control over Kabul

    Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan, "seize control of Kabul and introduce hard-line version of Islam, banning women from work, and introducing Islamic punishments, which include stoning to death and amputations" (www.bbc.com).
  • Hassan's Death

    In response to Hassan’s protest of not giving him his residence, the Talib officials “took him to the street… and order him to kneel… and shot him in the back of the head” (Hosseini 219). Hassan is shot for simply standing up for his rights. Despite the neighbors supporting Hassan, The Talibs accused Hassan of lying for living in the big house in Wazir Akbar Khan, with Rahim. The war allowed Talibans to control Kabul and its people and simply consider all Hazaras to be liars and thieves.
  • Rahim Khan

    Rahim Khan, who is now in his last stage of life requests Amir to come to Pakistan and explains to him the past of Afghanistan and states, “They [Talibans] don’t let you be human” (Hosseini 198). Over the course of about 20 years, Afghanistan has faced a lot, in terms of political changes, rights, and freedom. The Taliban snatched control over the rights of the people in Afghanistan. The Afghan civilization has lost many relationships with one another, affecting their day to day life.
  • The Letter

    Rahim gives Amir a letter written by his half-brother, the son of Baba and Sanaubar, and he reads, “ I thank Allah that I am alive, not because I fear death, but because my wife has a husband ad my son is not an orphan” (Hosseini 216). Amir is unable to comprehend all that has occurred since he has left. Rahim begs Amir to bring Sohrab, the last symbol of Hassan, out of the orphanage in Kabul. This way, Rahim provides Amir a course to atone for sins and relieve his guilt.
  • Rescuing Sohrab

    Amir goes to Afghanistan to rescue,Sohrab and is dueled by Assef,the Taliban, over the victory of Sohrab, who begs, “Please stop.Don’t hurt him [Amir] anymore” (Hosseini 290).Unaware of the blood relationship Amir and Sohrab share,Sohrab screams and shoots a brass ball at the man he most fears.Sohrab’s sacrifice of his safety and his life demonstrates the unconditional love that Amir and Sohrab share.This love does not necessarily have to be expressed through words, as their eyes speak louder.
  • United States

    After several lawyer meetings and a suicide attempt, “We [Amir and Sohrab] arrived home” (Hosseini 357). Sohrab never accepted or declined Amir’s offer, but came along, as his other option was to go back to the orphanage. Sohrab’s adoption case faced many complications, Kaka Sharif, Soraya's uncle, who had connections in the INS, helped Amir get Sohrab a visa into States. Sohrab eased the drift in the Amir and Soraya’s marriage caused by not having a child of their own.
  • 9/11 attacks

    Following the September 11 attacks on the US, "US-led bombing of Afghanistan begins...and Anti-Taliban Northern Alliance forces enter Kabul shortly afterwards" (www.bbc.com)
  • The End

    At the first day of spring, on the Afghan New Year’s Day, when Amir’s kite was the last to be flying, Amir looked down at Sohrab and witnessed, “A smile, Lopsided. Hardly there. But there” (Hosseini 370). After numerous changes in the Sohrab’s and Amir’s life, Amir feels enlightened when Sohrab shows a sign of happiness.
  • The End (Continued)

    In the end of the novel, Amir willfully runs that kite for Sohrab, just the way Hassan did for Amir. When Amir, who has been running away from his past, runs towards a connection with Hassan and an opportunity to act upon his newfound maturity, Amir becomes the kite runner of the novel's title.
  • Nato

    Nato, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, "takes control of security in Kabul, its first-ever operational commitment outside Europe" (www.bbc.com).
  • Presidential elections

    Presidential elections take place from October to November and "Hamid Karzai is declared winner" (www.bbc.com).
  • Security of Afghanistan

    Taking command in the east from a US-led coalition force, "Nato assumes responsibility for security across the whole of Afghanistan" (www.bbc.com).
  • US troop

    To foster Afghan security, "US President Obama decides to boost US troop numbers in Afghanistan by 30,000, bringing total to 100,000" (www.bbc.com).
  • Visit to Russia

    Since the end of the Soviet invasion in 1989, "president Karzai makes first official state visit to Russia by an Afghan leader" (www.bbc.com).
  • Partnership

    India and Afghanistan became allies , "as relations with Pakistan worsen(ed)...(and) Afghanistan and India sign a strategic partnership to expand co-operation in security and development" (www.bbc.com).
  • Peace Agreement

    A symbolic win for the Kabul agreement was established when "the Afghan government signs a peace agreement with the militant group Hezb-e-Islami which grants immunity to the group's leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar" (www.bbc.com).