What is the meaning of this quote? "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."
This quote is reflective of Assef's beliefs on racial purity. Assef believes that Afghanistan is meant for the Pashtuns. In the "the quasi-caste system of Afghanistan," the Pashtun people occupy the highest of positions. The "second class" citizens would be the Hazzara, of which Hassan is a part. At the root of Assef's quote is the idea of racial purity and what he will do to achieve it. While Amir is Pashtun, Assef holds contempt towards him because he associates himself with someone like Hassan.
Assef's quote embodies the discrimination and abuse of power that is a critical aspect of the narrative. Assef alludes to notions of the past with "sweeping, grandiose" language and gestures to convince both himself and others that he speaks for the nation, at large. In reality, Assef is a creature of power, addicted to it. He uses the racial purity argument as a way to develop more power. When he speaks of "the pure Afghans" and speaks in a degrading manner of "this Flat- nose here," Assef strives to establish a base of power and control that will be a significant part of his character. The quote illuminates this. Quotes such as this one firmly embed him as the antagonist in the novel.