The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner Glossary


A term describing the Hazara people, an ethnic minority originating in the mountainous region of Afghanistan called Hazarajat. Characterized by their mongoloid facial features, adherence to Shi'a Islam, and long history of persecution.


One who is consistently and habitually convinced he is ill when he is not.


Immigration and Nationalization Service of the United States of America. Formerly, the government agency that oversaw immigration issues. Now the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.


A large city in Afghanistan famous for its Blue Mosque. The Taliban massacred the Hazara population there in 1998.


A term used to describe a group of Muslims engaged in a war or conflict. In this novel, it describes the Afghanistan Mujahedin Freedom Fighters Front, which challenged the Soviet forces and later lost against the PDPA (People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan) government.


An ethnic group forming a majority in Afghanistan and surrounding areas. Characterized by adherence to Sunni Islam as well as Pashtunwali, an ancient code of tradition.

Shi'a Islam

The second largest denomination of the Islamic faith. Shi'a Islam believes that the teachings of Muhammad were carried through his descendants and do not accept the caliphate.


The Farsi term for the Soviets, who invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and occupied the country for a decade.

Sunni Islam

The largest denomination of Islam. Sunni Islam accepts the caliphate, meaning that it considers the Caliph or head of a Muslim state a successor to Muhammad.

Wazir Akbar Khan

The neighborhood in Kabul where Amir and Hassan grew up.