The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini goes through the history of Afghanistan from the 1970's to the present day. It follows Amir, who starts as a young boy living an affluent life with his father, Baba. His best friend Hassan, and Hassan's father, Ali also live with Amir and Baba. Hassan and Ali are Hazara's, an ethnic minority in Afghanistan who are Sunni Muslims, while the majority of other ethnic groups in Afghanistan are Shiites. Over the course of the novel, tensions between different ethnic groups, and various leaderships in the country arise. While Hassan and Amir spend all of their time together and generally lived a happy life flying kites and reading books, they were also subjected to bullying. Hassan, in particular, was bullied to an extreme because he is a Hazara. At one of the pinnacle points of the novel, he gets raped by one of Amir's peers and that completely changes the relationship between the friends, and it is something that Amir, as the narrator, struggles with for the rest of his life.
In the late 1970's, Afghanistan was taken over by the Soviet Union, which drastically changed the lives of Amir, Hassan, and their fathers. Amir and Baba were forced to escape Afghanistan for America, and this was also when they split paths with Hassan and Ali. It is not until years later, after the war rages in Afghanistan, Amir graduates high school and college in America and eventually gets married, and the death of Baba, does he hear about Hassan again. The Taliban took over Afghanistan in 1995 and instilled strict Islamic law onto the country. This devastated many of the people in Afghanistan who used to live happy and thriving lives. On a trip to Pakistan to visit one of his late father's friends, Rahim Kahn, he finds out that Hassan and his wife were publicly killed and left an orphaned son, Sohrab, in Afghanistan. Rahim Kahn also divulges to Amir that Hassan is actually his half-brother, which makes Sohrab his nephew. Along with the guilt he feels for witnissing the rape of his best friend, this new knowledge that Hassan is indeed his brother and that his nephew is now suffering in Afghanistan makes Amir feel an obligation to put himself in harms way to retrieve his nephew.
Amir's journey into Afghanistan is dangerous and his life is at stake, but the deeper he goes into Afghanistan, the more he realizes how dangerous life is for Sohrab. After a brutal battle with a past enemy, he finally gets Sohrab back. Once Amir decides to adopt Sohrab and bring him back to America, he faces more challenges. He also realizes the fragile state that Sohrab is in, emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Just as Amir gets the news that he can bring Sohrab home, he finds Sohrab in the bathtub after a near fatal suicide attempt. Sohrab becomes mute after that, even in America. The story ends on a happy note, with hope that Sohrab will find peace in America with Amir and his wife.