In The Kite Runner how has the Taliban changed the society?
We are shown Afghanistan under the Taliban when Amir returns to his home country and we share Amir's sense of shock at how his country has been transformed. However, to me, one central way the novel shows the changes in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime is in Chapter Fifteen, when Amir goes to Pakistan to visit Rahim Khan. They talk about Afghanistan under the Taliban, and Rahim Khan tells Amir that it is "much worse" than he has heard, saying that "they don't let you be human." He goes on to tell Amir how he received a vicious scar on his face. He was watching a football match and Kabul scored a goal. The man next to him cheered loudly and a young Taliban soldier struck Rahim Khan in the face with the butt of his Kalashnikov and insulted him:
"I was old enough to be his grandfather and I was sitting there, blood gushing down my face, apologising to that son of a dog."
We are thus presented with an image of Afghanistan where enjoyment, simple pleasures and the joy of life has been eradicated, along with values such as respect for your betters. We are told later on that kite competitions have been banned, and also we are shown the way that bloodthirsty violence has replaced entertainment in Afghanistan. This country is very different from the Afghanistan that Amir remembers in his childhood.
The presence of the Taliban drastically changes the atmosphere and culture of Afghanistan for the worse throughout the novel. When Amir returns to Afghanistan to save Sohrab, he witnesses firsthand how life under Taliban rule negatively affects the citizens of Kabul. The Taliban, a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organization, enforces strict laws founded on Sharia. Rahim Khan tells Amir that the Taliban banned kite fighting and massacred the Hazaras in 1998. When Amir returns to Afghanistan, he sees how years of war has destroyed much of Kabul's infrastructure and is forced to wear a fake beard to avoid being hassled by the Taliban. The Afghan citizens live in fear of the Taliban, and Amir is cautioned not to look any of the Talib soldiers in the eye. The citizens also suffer economically under Taliban rule and are forced to comply with Taliban policies or suffer the consequences. Amir also witnesses how the Taliban hold public executions during soccer matches while their abusive soldiers randomly strike citizens. While the citizens of Afghanistan struggle to survive the rule of their oppressive masters, Amir is forced to fight for his life with Assef, a high-ranking Taliban member, before fleeing the city with Sohrab.