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Hassan (the son of Baba's servant, Ali) is a member of the ethinc Hazara, who are scorned by most of Afghanistan's other social groups. The Hazaras were generally poor and uneducated (as was Ali and Hassan) and most lived in the mountainous region known as Hazajarat. They would eventually become one of the prime targets of future ethnic cleansing by the Taliban. Assef, though blonde and the son of a German woman, is nevertheless one-half Pashtun--the ruling ethnic group in Afghanistan. His parents are wealthy and powerful, thus enabling Assef with the belief that he comes from the ruling class of the land. Combined with his German heritage and love of Hitler, Assef considers himself and his family to be better than most--and certainly more privileged than any Hazara. His German roots may have helped his own rise in ranks within the Taliban, since Hitler's Nazis were defeated by United States--a prime enemy of the Taliban. In any case, Assef's Pashtun roots gave him a higher social standing than Hassan.
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