In chapter 12, Soraya tells Amir her darkest secret and demonstrates her honesty and courage by elaborating on her tainted past. Soraya tells Amir that she ran away with an Afghan man when she was eighteen years old. Her boyfriend at the time was a drug addict, and everyone in Virginia's Afghan community was gossiping about her shameful situation. Soraya's father ended up finding her and forced her to come home. When Soraya came home, she discovered that her mother had suffered a stroke, and her family was forced to move to California to avoid scrutiny. Soraya revealing her darkest secret should have prompted Amir to share his secret about witnessing Hassan's rape and his other transgressions. However, Amir cowardly keeps his secret to himself, which is wrong for him to do. Even after Soraya's confession, Amir refuses to elaborate on his past. He is still filled with extreme guilt and shame regarding his childhood decision to allow Assef to rape his best friend. Amir even criticizes his decision for refusing to speak about his dark secret, by saying,
I envied her. Her secret was out. Spoken. Dealt with. I opened my mouth and almost told her how I'd betrayed Hassan, lied, driven him out, and destroyed a forty-year relationship between Baba and Ali. But I didn't. I suspected there were many ways in which Soraya Taheri was a better person than me. Courage was just one of them.