What is the summary for Chapter 20 of The Kite Runner?

lit24 | Student

The next day Amir and Farid leave Jalalabad and arrive at Kabul after a tiring four hour long "bone-jarring" ride on a road full of potholes. Amir is traumatised to see the battle scarred countryside devastated by both the Russians and theTaliban. Inspite of Farid warning him that the Kabul of today is not what it once was, Amir is shocked at what he sees: "rubble and beggars. Everywhere I looked that was what I saw." Most of the beggars are small children on their mothers' laps. The men folk have been killed in the successive wars.

Amir is traumatised to see all the familiar landmarks of his Afghan childhood completely destroyed, especially Jadeh Maywand the place where he used to buy his kites from Saifo the Kitemaker: "Jadeh Maywand had turned into a giant sand castle."

After driving a short while Amir comes face to face with the Taliban for the first time. A red Toyota pickup truck passes by with young bearded Taliban soldiers. Frightened, Amir stares at them as the truck passes slowly by them. Amir warns him not to provoke them by staring at them, for the Taliban are always on the look out for a reason to stir up trouble. Soon, they are joined in their conversation by an old beggar. Amir is pleasantly surprised to learn that the beggar is actually Dr.Rasul who had been a lecturer at the university from 1958 to 1996. Dr.Rasul had been acquainted with Amir's mother Sophia Akrami who had also been a lecturer at the university at that time. Amir is deeply touched when Dr.Rasul the beggar relates to him the details of his last conversation with her. Amir poignantly remarks, "I had just learned more about my my mother from this old man on the street than I ever did from Baba."

Amir and Farid finally locate the orphanage "in the northern part of Karteh-Seh along the banks of the dried-up Kabul river." The director of the orphanage, Zaman, disappoints them by saying that just a month ago he had sold Sohrab to a Taliban official. Farid is furious and almost strangles to death Zaman because he is indulging in child-trafficking. Zaman defends himself saying that the money that he earns by selling children is used to feed the other children in the orphanage, and that unlike the others he did not flee Afghanistan but stayed back to care for the orphaned children. Zaman instructs them to go to the Ghazi stadium the next day where they can meet a Taliban official wearing black sunglasses who will help them in locating Sohrab.

Read the study guide:
The Kite Runner

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