In The Kite Runner, why was the Taliban in charge of punishment instead of the cleric?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At this point in the novel, the Taliban have wrestled control on social political levels.  Taliban leaders have emerged from the fragmented condition enveloping Afghanistan.  In this void, the Taliban has become the unquestioned authority.

The events of the novel occur against the backdrop of political change, culminating in the rise of the tyrannical Taliban government in contemporary Afghanistan. Assef, Hassan's rapist and the bully who becomes a high-ranking Taliban official, embodies the consequences of the abuse of power for power's sake and the violence and repression of the Taliban regime. Assef is a sociopath who thrives in an atmosphere of chaos and subjugation.

There are no checks nor institutional limitations to prevent the group from becoming the supreme authority over all and for all.  The group is responsible for political leadership, spiritual authority, and social adherence.  This is why the stoning of the couple in the soccer stadium for adultery is carried out by the Taliban.  In this light, the Taliban is in charge of everything and everyone, representing that Amir is not the only one who needs to seek to "be good again."  Rahim Khan's words can apply to all of Afghanistan emerging from the shadow of the Taliban.

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The Kite Runner

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