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What are some quotes in The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini which describe a Pashtun?

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amir-nit | Salutatorian

Posted September 21, 2013 at 4:24 AM via web

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What are some quotes in The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini which describe a Pashtun?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 21, 2013 at 5:10 AM (Answer #1)

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It would certainly have been more pleasant to be a Pashtun in Afghanistan than it would have been to be a Hazara, according to The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The Pashtuns have all the power, social position, opportunity, and prestige; conversely, the Hazara have none. 

Amir does not think much about this difference for a time, though he surely knows it exists. When he reads one of his mother's history books (she was a college professor), he learns some things about being a Pashtun that he never learned in school. In chapter two of the novel he says:

I read that my people, the Pashtuns, had persecuted and oppressed the Hazaras. It said the Hazaras had tried to rise against the Pashtuns in the nineteenth century, but the Pashtuns had "quelled them with unspeakable violence." The book said that my people had killed the Hazaras, driven them from their lands, burned their homes, and sold their women. The book said part of the reason Pashtuns had oppressed the Hazaras was that Pashtuns were Sunni Muslims, while Hazaras were Shi'a. 

Though he is the most despicable characters in the novel, Assef is a Pashtun who speaks for many others when he says this in chapter five:

"Afghanistan is the land of Pashtuns. It always has been, always will be. We are the true Afghans, the pure Afghans, not this Flat-Nose here. His people pollute our homeland, our watan. They dirty our blood." He made a sweeping, grandiose gesture with his hands. "Afghanistan for Pashtuns, I say. That's my vision."

As a Pashtun, Assef believes he has a natural right to do whatever he pleases to the lower-class Hazara, and he does it. Unfortunately, Assef's thinking is corroborated by the fact that only Pashtuns are in political power, and things only get worse once the Taliban arrives and settle into Afghanistan. 

Assef becomes a Taliban leader who takes great joy in persecuting the Hazaras with impunity (without punishment). He routinely opens fire on Hazaras just because he can, he takes and abuses boys from orphanages, and he and other Taliban members make a public spectacle of torturing innocent Hazaras.

While being a Pashtun was certainly better than being a Hazara, remember that Amir and Baba were Pashtun and they had to flee to America, leaving everything behind them. The Pashtun in the Taliban are obviously more powerful than civilian Pashtun.

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