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background and overview of khaled hosseini s the kite runner

Afghan flag

Background and Overview of Khaled Hosseini’sThe Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini

order of presentation
Order of Presentation
  • Setting
  • Historical Overview
  • Taliban
  • Religion
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Afghanistan Today
  • Essential Questions

At a movie screening

setting afghanistan
Setting: Afghanistan
  • Afghanistan is a land-locked country in the Middle East.
  • It is bordered by Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and China.

historical overview of afghanistan
Historical Overview of Afghanistan

  • In the mid-1700s, the capital city was moved to Kabul.
  • In the mid-1800s, the country was mostly controlled by Great Britain. In 1919, Afghans fought for freedom and became an independent nation.
historical overview continued
Historical Overview, Continued
  • In 1978, the PDPA (People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan) rose to power. They advocated for women’s rights and for land redistribution amongst the poor. Under the leadership of President Carter, the U.S. helped finance these reforms.

historical overview continued1
Historical Overview, Continued

  • These reforms occurred during the Cold War (a conflict between the U.S. and the Soviet Union). Because the Soviet Union felt threatened by U.S. involvement, Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

historical overview continued2
Historical Overview, Continued
  • 10 years later, in 1989, the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan. However, neither the U.S. or the Soviets helped rebuild war-torn Afghanistan. In the aftermath of the conflict, the Taliban rose to power.

taliban rule
Taliban Rule

  • During this seven-year period, Muslim extremist groups such as al-Qaida gained popularity.
  • In addition, women’s freedoms were severely curtailed.
  • Finally, extreme and inhumane punishments were enacted for crimes such as theft.

  • Nearly 80% of Afghans are Sunni Muslims, while the remaining 20% are Shi’a.
  • Sunnis and Shi’as primarily disagree on the rightful successors of Muhammad.
  • In the novel, Amir is Sunni and Hassan is Shi’a.

Mosque of the Prophet

Medina, Saudi Arabia

ethnic groups
Ethnic Groups
  • Pashtuns are the largest ethnic group at nearly 42% while Hazaras comprise approximately 9%. Historically, there has been conflict between these two groups.
  • Physically, the differences between the two groups are subtle. Generally, the Pashtuns have straighter noses and wider eyes while the Hazaras have more Asian features (wider noses and smaller eyes).
  • Amir is Pashtun while Hassan is Hazara.

afghanistan today
Afghanistan Today

  • In late 2001 (after 9/11), the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban regime.
  • A new president, Hamid Karzai was appointed.
  • Unfortunately, Afghanistan still struggles with Taliban insurgents, illegal opium trading, active landmines, and poverty.

essential questions
Essential Questions
  • How does my past influence me?
  • How can I allow my past to assist others?

Hassan and Amir

works cited
Works Cited

"Afghanistan." Wikipedia. 12 June 2008. 25 June 2008


Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York City: Riverhead

Books, 2004.