What is the political context for The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The political context for The Kite Runner is the upheaval and instability that plagued Afghanistan for the thirty-year span of the novel, starting in the 1970s. In 1973, in a coup, Daoud Khan, the king's cousin, displaced the king as ruler. This was followed by greater upheaval in 1979, when the Soviet Union backed the communist party in Afghanistan and invaded the country to support them. This led privileged people like Amir and his father to face hardship. In the novel, Amir and his father are arrested, along with many other wealthy Afghans, to be made an example of by the Parchami, or communists. As Amir states:

a group of Parchami soldiers marched into our house and ordered my father and me at gun point to follow them.

Because the Soviets want to reeducate bourgeois people and shake up the social order, Amir and his father flee their country for the United States. Their status in the former political system gives them the means to leave, unlike Hassan and his father, who have no alternative but to endure the turmoil. In the US, however, Amir and his father face another difficult situation in having to live at a much lower status than they were used to in Afghanistan.

Class is also part of the political context Amir grows up in. Amir internalizes a sense of superiority to Hassan because of his ethnicity and the branch of Islam he belongs to, stating:

I was a Pashtun and he [Hassan] was a Hazara, I was Sunni and he was Shi’a, and nothing was ever going to change that.

Political turmoil continues in Afghanistan into the twenty-first century, and it is against the backdrop of Taliban rule that Amir returns.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team