ALI. A lowly Hazara, Ali is scorned by society both for his heritage and his physical deformities. Things become slightly better for Ali during the Russian takeover, but after the Taliban takes over, the Hazara are targeted for genocide. Ali dies after stepping on a land mine.
AMIR. Of all the characters, Amir benefits most when he moves from Afghanistan to California. Although he does not enjoy the wealth and benefits of Baba's former position in Kabul, Amir receives an American education, gets married, and becomes a successful writer. Afghan politics are of little consequence to him until he decides to return to hunt for Sohrab, when he comes into conflict with an old enemy: Assef, now a Taliban official.
ASSEF. Assef, the son of a wealthy Pashtun, lives a life of privilege before the Russian takeover. Afterward, he is tortured by the Russians before joining the Taliban. Becoming a high-ranking Taliban official, Assef takes over Baba's old house but not before executing Hassan and his wife. He enslaves Sohrab and plans to kill Amir, but Hassan's son sees to it that Assef will not succeed.
BABA. Baba loses the most when the Russians take over Afghanistan. He is forced to leave in the middle of the night, leaving all of his wealth and possessions behind. In California, he becomes a simple convenience store worker, eeking out a living while making a few extra dollars each weekend at the flea market. He revels in his hatred of the Russians, but he dies without ever returning to his homeland.
HASSAN. Like Ali, Hassan is persecuted before the Russian takeover because he is a Hazara. Following the exit of the Russians, the Taliban began their systematic murder of the Hazara, and Hassan is executed when he refuses to abandon Baba's home.