The Kite Runner - Background Research
1. Map of Afghanistan and its Neighbouring Countries
2. The two dominant ethnic groups are the Pashtuns and Tajiks. The Tajiks are the Pashtuns closest rivals for power and prestige. Some Tajiks and Pashtuns share the same religion (Sunni Muslim) and dialect (Dari). Both of these parties share a great deal of influence in government and politics as they are the dominant ethnic groups. Most members of the Tajik and Pashtun groups are prosperous and usually middle class citizens. The people from both these ethnic groups are of Iranian origin.
3. The nature of the division between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims is due to their belief in different successors to the prophet Muhammad. The Sunni’s believe that the first four Caliphs were the rightful successors of Prophet Muhammad. Contrary to this, the Shi’a believe in the leadership of the Imam’s and that Ali ibn Abi Talib, the cousin of Muhammad, was the first Imam and the rightful successor of the prophet.
4. During the 1970s ethnic tensions between the Hazaras and Pashtuns were evident in Afghanistan and these tensions are explored in The Kite Runner. The Pashtuns held the majority of power and wealth in Afghanistan while the Hazaras held a very low position on the economic rung. These tensions are evident in the beginning of the novel where Ali is a poor Hazara who works for Baba a wealthy Pashtun as a servant. Assef’s treatment of Hassan is, furthermore, an indicator of these tensions.
5. The most significant languages in use in Afghanistan are Persian (Dari) and Pashto.
6. During the rule of the Taliban women were treated horribly. They were not allowed to work, leave the house without a male escort, or be treated by a male doctor. Women were forced to cover themselves from head to toe with a burqa. Female teachers and doctors were forced to leave work and sit at home while girls were forbidden to go to school. Since the beginnings of a new regime in 2001 women have...