The Kite Runner is the story of Amir and Hassan, two boys in pre-Soviet Afghanistan. Amir is the son of a wealthy merchant, Hassan a servant. The two have an uneven friendship. Hassan is secretly Amir's half-brother, a product of his father's indiscretion with a servant. The two grow apart during the war and the subsequent rise of the Taliban and Amir journeys to America where his father passes away. He returns to Afghanistan to claim Hassan's son in the wake of Hassan's death at the hands of the Taliban.
Amir and Hassan’s conversation is cut short by an explosion and gunfire. Ali hides with the boys during the attack.
Amir and Hassan are stopped by Assef, the neighborhood bully. He is relentlessly cruel to Hassan because he is Hazara. Assef says Hitler was a great leader, and the new president should follow his plan to get rid of the Hazara. (Assef himself has blue eyes and blonde hair because his mother is German; he points out, however, that his mother despises Hitler.) Hassan pulls a slingshot on Assef, Assef backs off saying he will get them later.
For Hassan’s twelfth birthday, Baba arranges for Hassan to have his cleft lip repaired by a plastic surgeon. After the surgery, his scar is barely noticeable.