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Chapter 19 of The Kite Runner details Amir's journey from Pakistan back into Taliban-held Afghanistan. Amir is suffering from culture shock, seeing his homeland for the first time in more than 25 years. As in the past, Amir suffers from car-sickness as he and his driver, Farid, wind their way "through the tribal lands of the Khyber Pass." Though he is a native Afghan, Amir is forced to disguise himself in order to successfully avoid detection by the Taliban. He wore a
... garment and pakol--ironically, I'd never worn either when I'd actually lived in Afghanistan--... and perhaps the most important item: an artificial beard, black and chest length, Shari'a friendly--or at least the Taliban version...
The poverty which now plagued the country was new to Amir, and he mused out loud that
"I feel like a tourist in my own country..."
But Farid, the driver, "snickered." He did not consider Amir as a true Afghan, since he and Baba had left their homeland when the Russians first invaded. Farid had stayed, as he believed all loyal citizens should, and had engaged in the wars that ravaged the country. Farid tells Amir that
"You've always been a tourist here, you just didn't know it."
Wahid, Farid's brother, thinks better of Amir, however. When Amir reveals his true reason for returning to Afghanistan--to locate Sohrab and return him to safety in Pakistan--Wahid
... rested his thick hand on my shoulder. "You are an honorable man, Amir agha. A true Afghan."
Amir's admission has also softened, Farid, who believed Amir had only returned to Afghanistan to sell his property.
His voice had lost the rough edge I'd heard in it since the moment I had met him.
"You should have told me."
"You didn't ask."
He rolled to face me. Curled his arm under his head. "Maybe I will halp you find this boy."
Amir's honorable return--not for financial gain but to free a relative from the dangers of the country--convinces Farid to accompany him throughout war-torn Afghanistan and eventually to Kabul, where they are forced to deal personally with a Taliban that Amir has known before.
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