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“IN THE NAME OF ALLAH,

THE MOST GRACIOUS AND


MARCIFUL”
The Kite Runner (Novel)
by Khaled Hosseini
Historical, Political and Cultural
Contexts.

A Presentation of:
http://nedahmed.blogspot.com
Dedications:
This work is dedicated to Afghan
Refugees in Pakistan.
The Kite Runner
Historical, Political and Cultural
Contexts.

http://nedahmed.blogspot.com
The Kite Runner
Introduction:
► The Kite Runner is the first novel by
Afghanistani American author Khaled
Hosseini
Published in 2003.

► First novel to be written in English


by an Afghan National

► Title is derived from an old


Afghan
hobby “Gudiparan Bazi” or Kite
Flying

► It is a unique Afghan pastime


About the author:

Khaled Hosseini was born in 1965 in Kabul. He


Attended Santa Clara University, Cal. Graduated
from UC San Diego School of Medicine in 1996.
His specialty is internal medicine.
medicine Where his
father was a diplomat and his mother taught
Farsi and history. The family left Afghanistan in
1976 when Hosseini’s father was posted to the
Afghan Embassy in Paris. Following the 1978
coup and the subsequent Russian invasion, the
Hosseinis emmigrated to the United States,
receiving political asylum in 1980. The family
settled in San Jose, California where his father
initially found work as a driving instructor, later
becoming an Eligibility Officer dispensing
welfare to needy families, many from the Afghan
The Kite Runner is a 2007 film
The Kite Runner (Film)
directed by Marc Forster based
on the novel by Khaled Hosseini.
Though most of the novel is set in
Afghanistan, these parts of the
movie were mostly shot in
Kashgar, China due to the
dangers of filming in Afghanistan
at the time of the making of the
movie. Much of the film's
dialogue is in Dari (Afghan
Persian) (with English subtitles),
and English. Most of the actors
involved with the film, including
the child actors, are native
speakers. Filming wrapped up on
December 21, 2006 and the
movie was expected to be
SYNOPSIS

► The novel maps the journey of


the
Amir, the narrator

►The story takes place in


Afghanistan,
Pakistan, and the United States
from
1975 to 2003.
Synopsis
Synopsis
Amir belongs to:

► A wealthy family whose father is a


businessman
► The dominant Pashtun ethnic group
► The dominant Sunni religious group
Amir tells the story of his friendship with
Hassan.
► Hassan and his father, Ali, are Amir’s
servants
► He is a low-caste ethnic Hazara
► He belongs to the minority Shi’it religious
denomination
► He is the victim of discrimination due to his
religious
Synopsis
► Ironically, he is also Amir’s half brother

AMIR AND HIS GUILT FEELING:

► Amir overwhelms with guilt when allows


Hassan to be
beaten by the neighborhood kids and
Watch him being
assaulted by one of those boys

SEPARATION:

► Hassan and his father leave Kabul for


Hazarajat
► Amir and his father flee Afghanistan for
Pakistan and
Synopsis
AMIR PAYS HIS DEBT TO HASSAN:

► He returns to Afghanistan in search of


Hassan
► While in Pakistan, Amir finds out that
Hassan and
his wife were killed by the Taliban
regime
► They left a son behind by the name of
Sohrab
AMIR ARRIVES AT KABUL
► He discovers that Sohrab has become
the victim of
sexual assault by Assef.
► Assef is a neighborhood boy who also
molested
Hassan
Conclusion
► The Kite Runner leaves one feeling, a
terrible
Sadness for the Afghan people.
► Afghans have suffered at the hands
of foreign
invaders and their own people
throughout the
history of Afghanistan and
particularly in the
past 30 years.
► In The Kite Runner, Khalid Husseini
brilliantly tells their story within a
Background to The Kite
Runner
To better understand an appreciate the context of The
Kite Runner, basic understand of Afghan history,
politics, and culture is necessary.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:
► For majority of its history, Afghanistan was
at a crossroad
of many civilizations and empires and a
cockpit for
contests between rivals
► These rivals and empires included
Achaemenid, Ancient
Greece, Mauryan, Sassanian, Arabs, Mongol,
Mogul, and
Safawid
► The Safawids ruled in western Afghanistan
and the
Historical Background
In the eastern
Afghanistan,
including Kabul
► The Uzbaks controlled
northern
parts of Afghanistan

EMERGENCE OF AFGHANISTAN:
► The nation of Afghanistan
began to
take shape in 1747, after
centuries
of fragmentation and rule
by
invaders.
► Ahmad Khan was crowned
Ahmad Shah king by
The Emergence of Afghan
Nation
► Afghans refer to him as Ahmad Shah Baba,
Shah=King
and Baba = Father of Nation
► Ahmad Shah belonged to the Saddozai clan of
Popalzai sub-tribe of Abdali or Durrani tribe (a
Pashtun
ethnic group)
► Saddozais ruled
Afghanistan
from 1747-1826
► The Mohammadzai clan
of
Barakzai sub-tribe of
Abdali
or Durrani tribe ruled
Afghanistan from 1826-
1978.
Dost
The Abdali or Durrani
Rulers
► President Mohammad Daoud was the last
ruler.
► He was the Prime Minister from 1953-1963
► Took power from the last Afghan king in
1973 in a coup with the help of Afghan
communists and changed Afghanistan to a
Daoud Republic, 1973-1978
► Deposed by the Afghan communists in a
bloody coup in April 1978
► King Zaher Shah is still alive at the age of
93.
► He is given the title of “Baba.”
King
Factors Contributing to Disunity of
Afghans
INTRODUCTION:
► Afghan rulers tried to build a strong state
► Strong central government would be able
to initiate
economic development and
modernization of the
Afghanistan.
► However, several factors made the
above task
difficult

THE GREAT GAME:


► Rivalry between British India and Czarist
Russia for
The Great Game - I
► Russia perceived Afghanistan as prime
invasion route
to wealthy British Indian Colony and
warm waters of
Indian Ocean.
► The British also concluded that whoever
controlled
Afghanistan could potentially dictate
India’s future
► Afghan►rulers
Thebecame
presence of Russia
pawns in envoy
the
convinced
British/Russian
British that Afghan king was
Great friendlier
Game
to Russians
► Thus, the British invaded
Afghanistan
Shah Shuja
in 1839 and replaced the
A Buffer State
► Eventually Shah Shuja was killed by
Afghans and the
exiled king reascended the throne.

A BUFFER STATE:
► The imperial rivalries did not permit
either to establish
itself in Afghanistan
► Toward the end of the 19th century,
Afghanistan
became a buffer state between Russia
and Britain.
► Both Britain and Russia agreed to
transform the
A Buffer State
► British found a king who would
be
favorable to their policies and
acceptable to both Afghans and
Russia
► He was Abdur- Rahman Khan
► Afghanistan emerged as an
entity in
Abdur-Rahman 1747, however, its internal
Khan unification
WAR
was OF INDEPENDENCE:
completed under this king
► Ultimately Afghans resented
the
continued British presence in
Afghanistan and King
Amanullah
declared its independence in
Amanulla August,
A New Game: The Cold War
► The Soviet Union and United States became
the dominant
powers after World War II.
► The two world powers sought influence around
the world,
including Afghanistan
► Afghanistan regained its status as a pawn of
superpowers
► This superpower rivalries during the Cold War
led to
further disintegration of the Afghan state.

COMPETITION BEARS ARMS:


Afghan government needed to modernize its
armed forces to:
► Maintain internal security
A New Game: the Cold
War
Political And Economic Development:
► When the U.S. government rejected Afghan
request for
arms, Afghans turned to the Soviet Union
► The Soviet Union not only provided Afghanistan
military
hardware, but also built several airports and
thousands of
Afghans went the Soviet Union for military
training.
► Most of the officers either joined the Afghan
Communist
Party or became sympathetic to it.

ORIGIN OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY:


► The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan
(PDPA)
was formed in 1965
The People’s Democratic
Party
► Noor M. Taraki and Hafizullah Amin
were
the leader of Khalq
► Babrak Karmal was the leader of
Parcham
Taraki
► Parcham helped the last
Mohammadzai,
Daoud, oust the king in a coup in
1973.
► Daoud declared himself the
Karmal president and
included members of Parcham in
his
government.
► Once consolidated his power,
Daoud
Amin
The People’s Democratic

Party
The Soviets concluded that Daoud had
become too
independent to be tolerated.

THE SAUR REVOLUTION:


► The Soviet KGB reunited the two factions
of the
PDPA
► A prominent PDPA leader, Mir A. Khyber,
was
assassinated in April, 1978.
► His murder led to a bloody coup on April
27, 1978.
► The coup leaders renamed the country
the
Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
The Saur Coup of 1978
Foreign Minister, respectively:
► Several months later, the Khalq faction
temporarily
succeeded to sideline the leaders of the
Parcham
faction of the PDPA.
► Intense power struggle started between
leaders of the
Khalq, Taraki and Amin.
► Amin supporters assassinated Taraki in
October,
1979
► Amin instituted a program of radical
►The Islamic
socialism and green
brutal oppression flag was
replaced
(The Communist (The Islam flag readopted byof by a close copy
flag.) the Karzai’s government.)
Amin’s Social Reforms
SOCIAL REFORMS:

► Land reform: limited land ownership by a family to


14.3 acres of land.
► Reducing bride-prices or dowry to 300 Afghani or $6.00
► Prohibiting arranged marriages
► Prohibiting marriage for women under 16 years and for
men under 18 years of age.
► Outlawed usury

OPPOSITION AND RESISTENCE TO REFORMS:

► These reforms challenged the prevailing traditional and


Islamic values and sentiments of Afghans.
► The regime encountered bitter resistance.
Resistance to Reforms
►When Amin failed to contain opposition, the
Soviet Union
invaded Afghanistan and installed to power the
leader of the
Parcham faction of the PDPA, Karmal, in
December, 1979.
►Amin was assassinated by a special Soviet
commando unit
while was entertaining his guests at the
opening of the new
presidential palace.
►In order to gain ►Most Afghans viewed Karmal
legitimacy, Karmal rolled as
backed most of the
Amin’s reform, puppet and
including a refused
new to grant
Afghan flag. his
regime
legitimacy.
Karmal regime’s flag
►Instead they joined the
Resistance Movement
► Opposition took the form of a religious jihad
or holy war,
a war in defense of Islam against the atheist
regime of kabul.
► The oppositions established their
headquarters and bases
in Peshawar, Pakistan.
► They were made up of seven military-
political groups.
1 Here are the pictures of some of the
leaders:
The CIA and the Arabs
► The CIA launched a major covert operation to
help the
Mujahideen defeat communism.
► The CIA placed ads in Arab newspapers to
recruit young
Muslims to join the Afghan “holy war.”
► The CIA eventually provided the Mujahideen
with the
decisive weapon of the war, the Stinger missiles
in 1986.
► Eventually the Soviet Union withdrew its forces
from
Afghanistan on February 15, 1989.
► The last Afghan Communist ruled several more
years.
Mujahideen
► Mujahideen assumed power from the last
Afghan
Communist in April 1992.
► Mujahideen could not agree among
themselves about
the sharing of power.
► They turned their guns against each other
and the
country became engulfed in a civil war and
was divided
in several independent zones, each with its
own warlord.
► Kabul was also divided into zones of
occupations and
turned it into an armed camps.
The Taliban
► The word “Taliban” is the plural of and
Arabic word,
Talib or someone who seeks religious
knowledge before
he becomes a preacher in a mosque.
► They were the sons of Afghan refugees in
Pakistan and
attended Pakistani schools of theology
► Became active in October 1994 in
Qandahar and
continued there advances in the country
with help of
Pakistan
► By 1997 they held about 90 percent of the
Afghan
The Taliban’s

Achievement
They brought relative peace and security in
the country
► The banished the warlords and forced them to
the
northeastern corner of the country and
formed the
Northern Alliance
► Restored law and order but through rigorous
enforcement
of Islamic punishment: public beating,
flogging,
amputation of hands, and stoning to death.
► The Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and
Suppression
of Vice was the powerful arm of the Taliban
government.
► The ministry issued strict religious decrees
that denied
The Taliban
and the World
Reaction
► Only three countries recognized the Taliban
government:
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and
Pakistan

► Initially, America gave a lukewarm support


to the Taliban

► We hoped the regime would be a partner in


oil-pipeline
UNOCAL or Union Oil Company of California
CONCLUSION:

► The new game, Cold War, between


the U.S.A. and the former Soviet Union
brought death and utter destruction
to the country.
► Over 5 million Afghans abandoned their
homes
and went into exile in other countries.
► Close to 1.5 million lost their lives
► Many left their homes for secured areas
of the country.
Other Factors Which
Contributed to a Failed State in
Afghanistan
A DIVERSE NATION:
► Afghanistan is a nation of groups with
disparate ethnic,
religious, and tribal traditions.

ETHNIC DIVERSITY:
► Over 30 different ethnic groups. They are
not contained
within Afghanistan.
► Pashtuns are the dominant ethnic groups,
who account
for about 38 percent of the population and
ruled
Afghanistan for most of the history of
Ethnicity
► Hazaras consists of about10 to 15 percent
► Uzbaks consists of about 9 percent
► Others (Turkmen, Aimaq, Baluch, Nuristani)
13
percent.

Tajik Pashtun Hazara


Baluch

Uzbak Pashtun
Religious Diversity
► Afghanistan has two dominant religious
groups, the Sunni,
or the so-called orthodox Islam, and Shi’ite or
the
so-called heterodox.
► Sunni constitutes 85 percent of the population
and
Shi’ite consists of 15 percent of Afghan
population
► Shi’ites consider Ali (r.a), the cousin and son-
in-law of the
Prophet, the legitimate successor
► Shi’ites developed their own conception of
Islamic law
and practices.
► In the past Shi’ites had been persecuted in
Afghanistan.
Tribal Traditions
► Tribalism is the most important traditional
institution
► Tribes provide a sense of solidarity,
security, and
political power to their members
► For most ethnic groups, especially
Pashtuns, tribal
identity and loyalty precede national
identity and
national consciousness
► Tribes follow and live by their own tribal
code.
► Pashtuns call their tribal code Pashtunwali
► Pashtunwali sets the limits of acceptable
behavior and
governs the relations between tribes.
Pashtun Tribal Code
►Jirga
or council of a form of local government
and makes
decisions in all disputes
►Badal
or revenge is based on the principle of “an
eye for
an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” It gives
everyone the right
to balance justice.
►Melmastia
or hospitality requires that a traveler must
be
received and cared for and the host must
protect him
►Nanawati
or asylum must be given to the
deadliest enemy
who has voluntarily placed himself in
one’s power and
requested a safe haven.
►Nang
or honor or bravery or one’s self-esteem
All offense committed against one’s
honor will be dealt with.
Conclusion
► The Kite Runner tells the sad story of Afghan
people.
► They have suffered at the hands of foreign invaders
and their own people
► I have attempted to explore the causes behind the
Afghan tragedy and elaborated on the following
causes:
► The Great Game
► The Cold War
► Heterogeneity of Afghan Society
► Tribal tradition
► The result was the failure of Afghan state.
A work dedicated to
Afghan Refugees
in Pakistan.
For more than two decades Pakistan hosted the largest single refugee
population in the world. It was estimated that 1.1 million refugees
remained in refugee camps at the start of 2003, after more than 1.5
million repatriated the previous year. In addition, an unknown but
substantial number of Afghans were known to live in Pakistan's urban
areas.
It was decided by the Tripartite Commission to close three of the camps
established after 11 September 2001 early in 2004. Repatriation in the
previous two years had reduced the populations and the locations, without
any water, made them hard to maintain.
Afghan refugees in Pakistan are not a homogeneous group. They fled to
Pakistan in several waves starting with the Soviet invasion of their country
in 1979. They came from different parts of Afghanistan and have various
ethnic backgrounds. The last refugee wave - nearly 300,000 Afghans --
reached Pakistan after the attacks of 11 September 2001.

Conditions for Afghan refugees in Pakistan differ greatly. Some still live in
tents, others in mud house settlements that look like the villages they left
behind. Those in the camps established after the 11 September attacks
receive food assistance through the World Food Programme while all the
camps receive medical and education support. In urban areas, few Afghan
refugees are fully integrated and well-off. The majority of urban refugees
are in slum areas of Pakistan's major cities, barely surviving on casual
labour. Understandably, the unprecedented rush of Afghans seeking to
With Afghans returning by the
thousands, Pakistan currently
witnesses the largest repatriation
movement in modern history
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