Amir and Hassan’s conversation is cut short by an explosion and gunfire. There's been a coup and the present monarchy has been overthrown. The bloodless coup, as Amir explains, has been carried out by Daoud Khan the King's cousin who wishes to establish a Republic. Ali hides with the boys during the attack and he tries to calm the boys by saying that it is only a duck hunt.The coup, however, was followed eighteen months later by the Russian invansion.
One day, Amir and Hassan are stopped by Assef the neighborhood bully and his two friends Wali and Kamal. He insults them by calling them 'kunis' or fags. He is relentlessly cruel to Hassan and constantly bullies and harasses him because he is a Hazara. Assef brags to them that the new leader Daoud Khan dined at his house the night before. Assef praises Hitler saying that was a great leader. He asserts that their new president should do what Hitler did to the jews to get rid of the Hazara. (Assef himself has blue eyes and blonde hair because his mother is German; he points out, however, that his mother despises Hitler.) He threatens, especially, Hassan by pulling out his brass knuckles and asking Amir how he can call Hassan as his friend. Assef intends to hurt Amir also since he and his father have "taken these people in." The talk of ethnic cleansing rouses the rage of Hassan who trains his slingshot on Assef, and Assef backs off saying that he will get even with them later.
Life goes on as usual in the Republic for the next few years. In the winter of 1974, as a present for Hassan’s twelfth birthday, Baba arranges for Hassan to have his cleft lip repaired by a plastic surgeon. After the successful surgery, his scar is barely noticeable.