Background Information for The Kite Runner

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  • 1. Background Information forThe Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini A. Krespil

2. Introduction

  • First Afghan novel to be written in English
  • Over 9 million copies sold worldwide
  • Translated into over 25 languages
  • Is on the list of Banned and Challenged Books
  • Kite Running is a popular Afghan pastime.

3. About the Author

  • Khaled Hosseini was born in 1965 in Kabul, Afghanistan
  • Moved to the US in 1980
  • Graduated from med school in 1996
  • Practices internal medicine
  • The Kite Runneris Hosseinis first novel.

4. Synopsis

  • The Kite Runneropens in Kabul in the mid-1970s.Raised in the same household but separated by class, Amir and his best friend Hassan are inseparable until a tragic event changes their relationship forever. Their intertwined lives and their fates reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them.

5. Time & Place

  • The story takes place in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and America.
  • Early 1970s to early 2000s

6. Afghanistan and the World 7. Afghanistan and its Surroundings 8. Landscape 9. Historical Background

  • Geographically and historically, Afghanistan has been the central focus for Eurasian civilizations activity.
  • - Central asia
  • Afghanistan has been invaded and conquered by several empires:
  • Persian
  • Greek
  • Arab
  • Turk
  • Mongol (Under Genghis Khan)
  • British
  • Soviet
  • And most recently by the Americans and their allies.

10. Tribal System

  • Hierarchical network of several tribes
  • -Pashtun: Most numerous and most powerful (Persian, Sunni Muslim)

11. Tribes

  • Hazara:- least powerful tribe
  • - descendants of the Mongols
  • - Shia Muslims
  • - mountain dwellers

12. Historical Timeline

  • 1 stcentury: Buddhist Kushans rule
  • 3 rdcentury: Kushans defeated by the Persians.Religion: Zoroastrianism (Zarathustra)
  • 7 thcentury: Muslim Arabs defeat the Persians
  • 1219: Under Genghis Khan, the Mongols overthrow the Arabs and devastate Afghanistan
  • Safawids ruled in western Afghanistan and Moguls ruled in eastern (including Kabul) Uzbeks controlled the north


  • Afghanistan only emerged as a nation in 1747 under Ahmad Shah.He is known as the father of Modern Afghanistan.
  • Muslim
  • Pashtun


  • Peaceful rule until 1973 when Mohammad Daoud joins with Afghan communist to overthrow his brother-in-law, the king.
  • Afghanistan switches from being a monarchy to being a republic.
  • 5 years later, Daoud and his family are murdered when the communist party decides to take over the government.

15. Deterioration begins

  • Mid 70s-: Afghanistan is pro-communist and anti-religious while its neighbors (Iran and Pakistan) are strongly Islamic.
  • 1979: Soviet Army sets up a government in Kabul


  • 1980s: To counter the Soviet presence, an Islamic jihad was declared to overthrow the Soviets.
  • Mujaheddin factions established (Afghan warriors)
  • To help defeat communism, were trained and generously funded by the CIA
  • 1989: As a result of the Jihad, Russia pulls out of Afghanistan

17. Aftermath

  • Russian casualties:
  • 15 000
  • Afghan Casualties:
  • Over1 million dead
  • 6.2 millionescape Afghanistan (now over half of the worlds refugee population)
  • Afghanistan is once again reduced to rubble

18. Recent History

  • The Mujaheddin could not agree on how to share the power
  • Civil war broke out among them dividing Afghanistan into several independent zones
  • This civil war resulted in over10 000casualties in Kabul alone

19. The Taliban

  • Lack of leadership left room for a group of Islamic fighters, the Taliban,to successfully rise to power
  • Talib = seeker of knowledge (Taliban is the plural form)
  • Came from Pakistan (and supported by them)
  • Pashtun
  • Sunni Muslim

20. Taliban

  • They began by helping rebuild the Afghani peoples moral (restoring peace and security)
  • Took over as Afghanistans government
  • Soon began enforcing laws through rigorous enforcement of what they deemed to be Islamic Law:
  • -public beating
  • -flogging
  • -amputation of hands
  • -stoning to death

21. Taliban

  • Became internationally famous for their sadistic repression of women

22. Taliban Rules for Women

  • Complete ban on women's work outside the home, which also applies to female teachers, engineers and most professionals.
  • Complete ban on women's activity outside the home unless accompanied by amahram(close male relative such as a father, brother or husband).
  • Ban on women being treated by male doctors.
  • Ban on women studying at schools, universities or any other educational institution.
  • Requirement that women wear a long veil (Burqa), which covers them from head to toe.
  • Whipping, beating and verbal abuse of women not clothed in accordance with Taliban rules, or of women unaccompanied by a mahram.
  • Public stoning of women accused of having sex outside marriage.
  • Ban on the use of cosmetics. (Many women with painted nails have had fingers cut off).
  • Ban on women laughing loudly. (No stranger should hear a woman's voice).
  • Ban on women wearing high heel shoes, which would produce sound while walking. (A man must not hear a woman's footsteps.)
  • Compulsory painting of all windows, so women can not be seen from outside their homes.
  • Ban on the photographing or filming of women. 29- Ban on women's pictures printed in newspapers and books, or hung on the walls of houses and shops.

23. Rules for all of Society

  • Banned listening to music, watching of movies, television and videos
  • Ordered that all people with non-Islamic names change them to Islamic ones.
  • Ordered that men not shave or trim their beards
  • Ordered that all people attend prayers in mosques five times daily.
  • The kite flying has also been stopped.
  • Ordered all onlookers, while encouraging the sportsmen, to chant Allah-o-Akbar (God is great) and refrain from clapping.
  • Anyone who carries objectionable literature will be executed.
  • Anyone who converts from Islam to any other religion will be executed.
  • All boy students must wear turbans. They say "No turban, no education".
  • Non-Muslim minorities must distinct badge or stitch a yellow cloth onto their dress to be differentiated from the majority Muslim population. Just like what did Nazis with Jews.
  • Banned the use of the internet by both ordinary Afghans and foreigners.

24. 25. 26. 9/11 to Today

  • Taliban admitted to harbouring Osama Bin Laden and his radical Islamist group Al-Qaeda
  • After the 9/11 attacks, the US and its allies went into Afghanistan and quickly overthrew the Taliban
  • Unfortunately, due to lack of successful reconstruction, the Taliban have reappeared.
  • Afghanistan in slowly and painfully trying to rebuild itself.

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