In the Kite Runner how did the Soviet war and the rise of the Taliban affect the politics, society, and/or culture of Afghanistan?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Social and political fragmentation lies at the heart of The Kite Runner. I think that one of the most compelling issues that arise out of the book is Hosseini's depiction of an Afghanistan that is so polarized and fragmented coming out of the war with the Soviet Union that it enabled the Taliban to seize power without much in way of opposition.  In a setting that was fraught with fragmentation, disunity, and disorder, people in Afghanistan were quite content with the order and structure offered by the Taliban.  The solutions they offered were that proverbial oasis in the desert.  This landscape was caused by the brutality and incremental desolation of Afghanistan's war with the Soviet Union.  The Communist takeover left much to be desired in Afghanistan and the emergence of the Northern Alliance followed by the Taliban compelled citizens in Afghanistan to believe that such political realities would be far more desirable than what was being offered by the Soviet Union.  With the fleeing of the elite and upper class people as a result of the Soviet takeover, and as a result of the war with Afghanistan, the masses felt that what the Taliban was proposing would benefit them, ensuring little, if any, resistance to their ascent to power.  Like all regimes that emerge out of fragmentation, the body politic found that their hopes were not to materialize.

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