Born in Kabul in 1965


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Born in Kabul in 1965



Kite running (gudipran bazi) has been a favorite pastime in Afghanistan for 100 years

  • Kite running (gudipran bazi) has been a favorite pastime in Afghanistan for 100 years

  • Two-person affair: one person is the charka gir, who holds the wooden kite spool; the other is the gudiparan baz, who controls the movement of the kite in the air



Kite flyers stand on tops of buildings, fighting with kites from all over the city

  • Kite flyers stand on tops of buildings, fighting with kites from all over the city

  • The object is to strike down the kite of your opponent with the string of your kite

  • Strings are made with wire or string coated with glass



Ethnically diverse country – reflects geographic locations as well as history

  • Ethnically diverse country – reflects geographic locations as well as history

  • Pashtu and Dari are the official languages, spoken by 85% of the people

  • 99% of population is Muslim; 84% of Muslims are Sunni

  • Long history of ethnic hierarchy, creating imbalances of wealth, influence, and education



Traditionally Pashtuns have dominated the country because they are the presumed majority of the population

  • Traditionally Pashtuns have dominated the country because they are the presumed majority of the population

  • Many other ethnic groups have not had a strong voice

  • Society has a firm and structured hierarchy which dominates the inter-ethnic interactions and relations



Majority ethnic group, constituting approximately 42% of the population

  • Majority ethnic group, constituting approximately 42% of the population

  • Highest ethnicity on the social ladder and dominate governmental bodies

  • Pashtu is their native language

  • Consist mainly of Sunni Muslims



Resides mainly in the central Afghanistan mountain region known as Hazarajat

  • Resides mainly in the central Afghanistan mountain region known as Hazarajat

  • Make up approximately 9% of the population

  • Seem to have Mongolian origins, as evidenced by physical attributes, culture, and language

  • Most are Shi’ite Muslims

  • On the lower end of the socioeconomic scale



A religion based on the interpretations of God’s word by the prophet Muhammad found in the Qu’ran (sometimes spelled Koran)

  • A religion based on the interpretations of God’s word by the prophet Muhammad found in the Qu’ran (sometimes spelled Koran)

  • Followers of Islam, Muslims, are devoted to daily prayer (five times a day facing Mecca, the holy city).



There are two major Islamic sects: Sunni and Shiite. The two groups are very similar, although the two sects have also had sharp political differences. The split stems from the early days of Islam and arguments over Mohammed's successors as caliph or leader.

  • There are two major Islamic sects: Sunni and Shiite. The two groups are very similar, although the two sects have also had sharp political differences. The split stems from the early days of Islam and arguments over Mohammed's successors as caliph or leader.

  • Sunni comprise about 85 percent of all Muslims.

  • Shi’a are the second-largest sect. Iran is the only nation with an overwhelming Shiite majority.



• There are several tenets of Islam, but there are three mentioned early on in the book:

  • • There are several tenets of Islam, but there are three mentioned early on in the book:

  • • Zakat – charitable giving

  • • Hadj – pilgrimage to Mecca

  • • Namaz – 5 daily prayers facing Mecca



Very conservative Islamic fundamentalist faction. Set up what it considered to be the world's purest Islamic government. Based on its strict interpretation of Islamic law, the Taliban:

  • Very conservative Islamic fundamentalist faction. Set up what it considered to be the world's purest Islamic government. Based on its strict interpretation of Islamic law, the Taliban:

    • Banned movies and television, photographs of people and animals, statues, stuffed toys, use of the Internet, non-religious music and musical instruments, dancing, kite-flying, playing cards and chessboards.
    • Said women are not allowed to work outside the home, attend school and must be covered in public.
    • Stated men must wear untrimmed beards and pray in the mosque.
  • Religious police enforce these rules, often whipping violators.



• In the 19th century, Afghanistan ceded many territories to Great Britain.

  • • In the 19th century, Afghanistan ceded many territories to Great Britain.

  • • In 1919, the Anglo-Afghan wars returned the ruling power to the Afghani monarchy.

  • • In 1973, the king’s brother staged a coup to create a Republic.

  • • In 1978, communists overthrew the ruler and took over the government.



• In the beginning of The Kite Runner, the monarchy is still in place and the country is relatively calm. However, chaos starts to erupt as the king is overthrown by his brother.

  • • In the beginning of The Kite Runner, the monarchy is still in place and the country is relatively calm. However, chaos starts to erupt as the king is overthrown by his brother.

  • • In the second half of The Kite Runner, the Taliban is in power, creating a much more volatile and dangerous Afghanistan.



The Kaaba or "Cube" is a circular building located inside the al-Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The mosque was built around the original Kaaba.

  • The Kaaba or "Cube" is a circular building located inside the al-Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The mosque was built around the original Kaaba.

  • The Kaaba is the holiest place in Islam.The qibla, the direction Muslims face during prayer, is the direction from their location on Earth towards the Kaaba. It is around the Kaaba that ritual circumambulation is performed by Muslims during the Hajj (pilgrimage) season as well as during the Umrah (lesser pilgrimage).



  • • Islam is divided into two denominations, Shia and Sunni. Because of the differing views of these two groups, they maintain a rather tense and hostile relationship.

  • • The Pashtun (majority) are typically Sunni, and the Hazara (minority) are typically Shia.

  • • Thus, the racial differences are compounded by the religious differences.



• The Hazaras are most

  • • The Hazaras are most

  • easily identified by their

  • tendency to have light colored

  • and almond shaped

  • eyes and round faces.

  • • They are possibly direct

  • descendents of Genghis

  • Khan, who invaded

  • Afghanistan in the 13th

  • century.

  • • Thus, they are seen as

  • “invaders” and not true

  • Afghanis.



The Hazaras typically function as the servant class and partake in few of the freedoms enjoyed by the Pashtun upper-class.

  • The Hazaras typically function as the servant class and partake in few of the freedoms enjoyed by the Pashtun upper-class.



  • jan – a term of endearment often used after a person’s name: Baba jan

  • agha – leader, ruler, master, lord

  • sahib – friend (original), lord

  • naan – bread



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