Who is Kamal in "The Kite Runner?"

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In Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Kamal is one of two cowardly, obsequious “lieutenants” to Assef, a sadistic bully who torments weaker boys, and who rapes Hassan while Amir looks on helplessly – or, alternatively, uselessly.  Hosseini describes Assef and his two weaker “friends,” Kamal and Wali as follows:

“Born to a German mother and Afghan father, the blond, blue-eyed Assef towered over the other kids. His well-earned reputation for savagery preceded him on the streets. Flanked by his obeying friends, he walked the neighborhood like a Khan strolling through his land with his eager-to-please entourage.”

As Assef walks the streets, bullying others, Wali and Kamal ritualistically agree with his every utterance, no matter how banal or cruel, with numerous descriptions of Assef’s actions punctuated with statements like this: “Wali and Kamal nodded and grunted in agreement.”

As the situation in Afghanistan turns for the worse, however, even Assef’s fortunes are degraded, exemplified in the following passage:

“Assef’s mouth twitched. Wali and Kamal watched this exchange with something akin to fascination. Someone had challenged their god.”

Kamal, however, will emerge more visibly as the feeble, pathetic person he is, ultimately dying of asphyxiation, which so saddens his father that he commits suicide.  Kamal, in short, is a minor character, but one whose decline and eventual death lends this story an added poignancy.

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In the novel "The Kite Runner," we are first introduced to Kamal when Assef, another boy and he are being bullies to Amir and Hassan.  Hassan stands up to them and they leave saying that they will get even with the boys.  Later in the novel, Kamal is one of the boys with Assef when he rapes and beats Hassan.  Kamal is a Pashtun and one of the accepted class while Hassan is a Hazara.  Kamal pretty much follows Assef's lead and does what Assef tells him to do. 

With a twist of irony in this novel Kamal is later attacked and raped himself and eventually killed trying to escape the Soviet Russian's rule of his home country and Kabul.

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