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Background Information. To better understand an appreciate the context of The Kite Runner, a basic understanding of Afghan history, politics, and culture.

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Presentation on theme: "Background Information. To better understand an appreciate the context of The Kite Runner, a basic understanding of Afghan history, politics, and culture."— Presentation transcript:

1 Background Information


3 To better understand an appreciate the context of The Kite Runner, a basic understanding of Afghan history, politics, and culture is necessary. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND ►For majority of its history, Afghanistan was at a crossroad of many civilizations and empires

4 ►EMERGENCE OF AFGHANISTAN ►The nation of Afghanistan began to take shape in 1747, after centuries of fragmentation and rule by invaders. ►Ahmad Khan was crowned king ►Afghan historians have called him the founder of the Afghan nation Ahmad Shah Baba

5 ► Afghans refer to him as Ahmad Shah Baba, Shah=King and Baba = Father of Nation ►Ahmad Shah belonged to the Saddozai clan (a Pashtun ethnic group) ►Saddozais ruled Afghanistan from 1747-1826 ►The Mohammadzai clan ruled Afghanistan from 1826-1978. Dost Mohammad

6 ►President Mohammad Daoud was the last ruler. ►He was the Prime Minister from 1953-1963 ►Took power from the last Afghan king in 1973 in a coup with the help of Afghan communists and changed Afghanistan to a Republic, 1973-1978 ►deposed by the Afghan communists in a bloody coup in April 1978 Daoud

7 INTRODUCTION ►Afghan rulers tried to build a strong state ►Strong central government would be able to initiate economic development and modernization of the Afghanistan. ►However, several factors made the above task difficult THE GREAT GAME ►Rivalry between British India and Russia for control of Afghanistan throughout the 19 th and parts of the 20 th centuries

8 ►Russia perceived Afghanistan as prime invasion route to wealthy British Indian Colony and warm waters of Indian Ocean. ►The British also concluded that whoever controlled Afghanistan could potentially dictate India’s future ►The presence of Russia envoy convinced British that Afghan king was friendlier to Russians ►Thus, the British invaded Afghanistan in 1839 and replaced the ruler, Shah Shuja. Shah Shuja

9 ►Eventually Shah Shuja was killed by Afghans and the exiled. A BUFFER STATE ►Toward the end of the 19 th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state between Russia and Britain. ►Both Britain and Russia agreed to transform the country into a state and use it as a buffer. ►The imperial powers separated Afghanistan’s borders and searched for a new Afghan king.

10  “Hassan and I looked at each other. Cracked up. The Hindi kid would soon learn what the British learned earlier in the century and what the Russians would eventually learn by the later 1980s: that Afghans are independent people. Afghans cherish customs but dislike rules.” (55)

11 ► The Soviet Union and United States became the dominant powers after World War II. ►The two world powers sought influence around the world, including Afghanistan ►COMPETITION BEARS ARMS ►Afghan government needed to modernize its armed forces to: ►Maintain internal security ►Gain control of independent tribes ► Strengthen central government to foster

12 political and economic development ►When the U.S. government rejected Afghan request for arms, Afghans turned to the Soviet Union ►The Soviet Union not only provided Afghanistan military hardware, but also built several airports and thousands of Afghans went to the Soviet Union for military training. ►Most of the officers either joined the Afghan Communist Party or became sympathetic to it. ORIGIN OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY ►The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) was formed in 1965 ►The PDPA split and remained divided until July 1977

13 ►The world Taliban is the plural of and Arabic word, Talib or someone who seeks religious knowledge before he becomes a preacher in a mosque. ►They were the sons of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and attended Pakistani schools of theology ►Became active in October 1994 in Qandahar and continued there advances in the country with help of Pakistan ►By 1997 they held about 90 percent of the Afghan territory, including Kabul.

14 SOCIAL REFORMS ►Land reform: limited land ownership by a family to 14.3 acres of land. ►Prohibiting arranged marriages ►Prohibiting marriage for women under 16 years and for men under 18 years of age. OPPOSITION AND RESISTENCE TO REFORMS ►These reforms challenged the prevailing traditional and Islamic values and sentiments of Afghans.

15 ►Restored law and order but through rigorous enforcement of Islamic punishment: public beating, flogging, amputation of hands, and stoning to death.. ►The ministry issued strict religious rules that denied people the right to freedom of expression, association, the right to work, and the right to education ►They prohibited games such as kite flying, chess, music,

16 ►Only three countries recognized the Taliban government: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan ►CONCLUSION ►The Cold War, between the U.S.A. and the former Soviet Union brought death and utter destruction to the country. ►Over 5 million Afghans abandoned their homes and went into exile in other countries. ►Close to 1.5 million lost their lives ►Many left their homes for secured areas of the country.

17 A DIVERSE NATION ►Afghanistan is nation of groups with disparate ethnic, religious, and tribal traditions..

18  1996 - Taliban seize control of Kabul, banning women from work, and introducing Islamic punishments, which include stoning to death and amputations.  1997- Taliban recognized as legitimate rulers by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Taliban now control about two-thirds of country.  1998 - US launches missile strikes at suspected bases of militant Osama bin Laden, accused of bombing US embassies in Africa.  1999 - UN financial sanctions to force Afghanistan to hand over Osama bin Laden for trial.

19  May - Taliban order religious minorities to wear tags identifying themselves as non-Muslims, and Hindu women to veil themselves like other Afghan women.  October - US, Britain launch air strikes against Afghanistan after Taliban refuse to hand over Osama bin Laden, held responsible for the September 11 attacks on America.

20  May - Violent anti-US protests in Kabul, the worst since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, erupt after a US military vehicle crashes and kills several people.  October - NATO assumes responsibility for security across the whole of Afghanistan, taking command in the east from

21  Afghanistan is an ethnically diverse country. Its inhabitants form a complex mosaic of ethnic and linguistic groups, a history of frequent external occupiers.  As of July 2007, there are approximately 32 million people estimated to live in Afghanistan.

22  Pashtu and Dari are considered the official languages of Afghanistan, and are spoken by 85% of the people.  Thirty other minor languages are also spoken in Afghanistan, representing the last 4% of  the population.  There is also a large degree of bilingualism amongst the inhabitants of the country.  About 99% of the population is Muslim, and of these Muslims, 84% belong to the Sunni sect.

23  There has been a long history of an ethnic hierarchy within Afghanistan. It has created imbalances in wealth, influence and education within its society.  Traditionally, Pashtuns have dominated the country because they are the presumed majority of the population.  As a result, many of the other ethnic groups have not had a strong voice within the society.

24 Tajiks  Tajiks account for about 27% of the population of Afghanistan  They are the second largest ethnic community within Afghanistan  They are identified with agriculture and town life

25 Hazaras  The Hazara ethnic group resides mainly in the central Afghanistan mountain region called ‘Hazarajat’  They make up approximately 9% of Afghanistan’s population  Historically, the Hazara seem to have Mongolian origins, as evidenced by physical attributes  They are a group that is considered to have low income

26 In Afghanistan, socioeconomic status was highly correlated with ethnicity. Income inequality was vast as most of the upper class came from the royal tribal clan, while the lower class was comprised of the likes of Hassan's family of The Kite Runner. The Taliban were Pashtun-based but not all Pashtuns supported the Taliban ideology as evident in The Kite Runner characters of Baba, Rahim Khan and Amir who were opposed to religious extremists.





31 1. Get into groups of 4-6 people 2. Review the notes taken in class today 3. Skim through chapters 1-12 and find references from the novel that relate back to the information on Afghanistan provided today (there is a lot of evidence in chapters 11-12) 4. You will present this information to the rest of your peers

32  Important Quotations  Why are these quotes significant?  “But better to get hurt than comforted with a lie”  “In the end, the world always wins. That’s just the way of things”  “Not a word passes between us, not because we have nothing to say, but because we don’t have to say anything- that’s how it is between people who are each other’s first memories”

33  Who is Karim?  Why are Amir and his father fleeing Afghanistan?  Why does Baba challenge the Russian officer?  Chapter 11 has a new setting, what is it?  In chapter 11 who is Soraya?  Baba observes that “It may be unfair, but what happens in a single day can change the course of a whole lifetime.” Whom is he speaking about? Why? What else might be significant of this quote?  What is Baba diagnosed with? How does he decide to treat it?  What disappointments do Soraya and Amir face? Do you think Amir should have told Soraya about his betrayal of Hassan before they were married? Why or why not? What does this do to a relationship?  In 1989, what is going on in Afghanistan? Who is in charge?

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