Who are Wali and Kamal? What happens between them, Assef, Amir, and Hassan?

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bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Wali and Kamal are the two boys who hang out with Assef, the chief tormenter of Hassan. Wali and Kamal are merely followers, described as "obeying friends," afraid of Assef, who is older and taller than the other boys. Wali and Kamal "cackled in unison" when Assef made fun of Amir and Hassan, and they never utter a word during their first confrontation with Amir and Hassan. When Assef puts on his brass knuckles, prompting Hassan to load his slingshot in defense, a "look of astonishment" came to the faces of Wali and Kamal. When Hassan threatened to shoot out Assef's eye,

Wali and Kamal watched this exchange with something akin to fascination. Someone had challenged their god. Humiliated him.

When Assef retreated, "his disciples followed." 

The two boys are later forced to participate in the sodomy of Hassan, although Wali believes it "is sinful." Nevertheless, they hold Hassan down while Assef rapes him. Amir meets up with Kamal again when they share the same fuel tanker on their way out of Afghanistan. In an ironic twist, Kamal has also been raped by four men and left a "withered" remnant of himself. 

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gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As was mentioned in the previous post, Wali and Kamal are friends with Assef and help him rape Hassan after the kite-fighting tournament. Throughout the novel, Amir describes Wali and Kamal as loyal followers and disciples of Assef. Both characters offer little dialogue throughout the story but are always around Assef during their childhood. Assef is the leader of their group, and they revere him for his masculine, fearless personality. Earlier in the novel, Wali, Kamal, and Assef run into Amir and Hassan. Assef then threatens to beat up Amir and Hassan, but Hassan loads his slingshot in self-defense. Both Wali and Kamal are stunned when Assef backs down to Hassan. This is a critical moment because Assef will eventually seek revenge for Hassan's actions.

In Chapter 7, Wali, Kamal, and Assef corner Hassan while he is retrieving the blue kite. Assef implies that he is going to harm Hassan, and Kamal attempts to mimic Assef's intimidating nature but cannot. Amir mentions,

"He wasn't afraid of Hassan, not really. He was afraid because he had no idea what Assef had in mind" (Hosseini, 54).

When Assef asks them if they are willing to rape Hassan, both Wali and Kamal refuse. Wali mentions that his father says that it is sinful, and Kamal looks away. Unfortunately, they help Assef rape Hassan by holding him down. Overall, Wali and Kamal are two timid boys who admire and fear Assef throughout the story.

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