Discuss how the ever-changing politics of Afghanistan affect each of the characters in the novel.

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AMIR.  Amir has to follow his father, Baba, to California when they are forced to leave Afghanistan after the Russian occupation. For Amir, it is a mixed blessing: He gets to start a new life, get a good education, get married, and try to forget his past sins in his homeland. When he returns to find Sohrab, Kabul is a changed city, ruled not by the Russians but by the even more ruthless Talban.

ALI.  As an ethnic Hazara, Ali will never rise above the lower levels of Afghanistan's social realm. Life is not good under Russian rule, but the Taliban routinely practice ethnic cleansing against his people.

ASSEF.  The son of a German mother and Pashtun father, the blond Assef worships Hitler and believes in the superiority of his father's people. When the Taliban rise to power, Assef moves up the ranks.

BABA.  Not a religious man, Baba thrives during the years before the Russian takeover. Unwilling to live as a pauper (or risk death) under Russian control, he heads to California. He is unable to rebuild the fortune he amassed in Afghanistan, but his business instinct and work ethic keeps him afloat. He continues to associate with Afghani ex-patriots in California, where his reputation among them is revered; however, the once wealthy man becomes a lower-middle class member of American society

SANAUBAR.  A Hazara women who moves from man to man, Hassan's mother's reputation is as low as her class standing in Afghanistan--scorned for her race as well as her promiscuity.

HASSAN.  As a Hazara, Hassan--like his father, Ali--will never rise up the social ladder in Afghanistan. Following the Russians' departure, he becomes even more of an outcast during the Taliban rule.

GENERAL TAHERI.  Like Baba, Taheri was a powerful man in Afghanistan who was forced to flee during the Russian takeover. He still hopes to return to power someday and awaits a shift in Afghani politics that will allow him to return to his old status. He is a far stricter man than Baba, however, and he has repressed his daughter, Soraya, for her past indiscretions after her arrival (and short, rebellious behavior) in America.

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The Kite Runner

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