Sofia Akrami is Amir’s mother who died in childbirth. She was a descendent of the royal family, a beautiful and virtuous woman who taught Farsi literature at the university in Kabul.
Ali is Baba’s kind and religious Hazara servant, who grew up with him as a companion, as Hassan and Amir grew up together. Ali was the child of a Hazara couple killed on the road by drunk Pashtun drivers. Amir’s grandfather took him in. Ali got polio, resulting in a crippled leg and paralyzed lower face. He is taunted by the Pashtun children as “Babalu,” the Boogeyman. He had two unfortunate marriages and was unable to have his own children, though he brings up Hassan as his son. When Amir accuses Ali and Hassan of robbery, Ali and Hassan move to Hazarajat where Ali is killed by a land mine.
Amir is the main first-person character. He tells his story as an adult in America looking back to childhood in Kabul, Afghanistan, where the Hazara servant Hassan was his best friend. Amir is considered weak by his father because he is afraid of physical violence and won’t stand up for himself. He does not stand up for Hassan either when he is attacked by Pashtun bullies. Amir bears the guilt all his life of having betrayed Hassan when he was twelve, and then he drove Ali and Hassan away because they reminded him of his terrible secret. Although Amir adores his father, Baba does not understand him, so Amir looks to Rahim Khan for fatherly guidance, even accepting his challenge when he is nearly forty, to redeem himself by returning to Kabul to save Hassan’s son, Sohrab. He undergoes his test that he had postponed all his life by standing up to the bully, Assef.
Raymond Andrews is the American Embassy clerk in Islamabad who refuses Sohrab a visa for American adoption because there is not the proper paperwork to prove his situation.
Assef is the bully of Amir’s Kabul neighborhood who later becomes the “sociopathic” leader of the Taliban. He is Amir’s chief enemy whom he avoids in childhood but faces as an adult. Assef always threatens with his brass knuckles and uses physical violence on others. He is the one who attacks Hassan in the alley and holds Sohrab hostage. Half German, he admires Adolf Hitler. In Kabul, Amir has to confront him to get Sohrab back.
Baba is Amir’s father, a big forceful man of business with thick hair and beard, who sees things in black and white terms. Amir both loves and fears his father, always trying to gain his approval. Baba is wealthy during the monarchy and marries a woman of royal blood, but when she dies, he has an affair with Ali’s wife, resulting in the birth of Hassan. He never becomes religious but tries to do good works to redeem his sin. The secret of Hassan’s birth works a destructive influence in the family. Baba submits to working in a gas station in America to give Amir a future, and he dies of cancer after seeing Amir’s wedding.
Omar Faisal is the immigration lawyer in Islamabad who gives Amir a bleak picture of being able to adopt Sohrab.
Farid is the Afghan taxi driver who takes Amir to Kabul and helps him to get Sohrab out of the clutches of the Taliban. He is a seasoned fighter against the Russians and has two wives and five children.
Farzana is Hassan’s Hazara wife whom he met in Hazarajat and brought back to Kabul to live in Baba’s house. They are servants there where their son Sohrab is born. Both are shot by the Taliban.
Mr. Fayyaz is the hotel manager in Islamabad who helps Amir find the runaway Sohrab.
Hassan is a Hazara servant in Baba’s house, thought to be the son of Ali, but secretly the illegitimate son of Baba and Ali’s second wife, Sanaubar. He is thin but tough, with a shaved head and round Mongolian face, an expert kite runner and skilled with the slingshot. He is of inferior caste to his friend and half-brother, Amir, and one of the minority Shi’ite Muslims. Hassan is sure of himself, a wise, brave, humble, and religious person who always helps and forgives Amir. It is hinted he has some mystical abilities, such as foretelling things through dreams and reading Amir’s mind. He is devoted to Amir and never tells on him, even when it would help him. His loyalty is contrasted to Amir’s betrayal. His son Sohrab is the only remnant left of Baba’s family since Amir cannot have children.
Karim is the truck driver who takes Amir and Baba out of Kabul when they escape Afghanistan under the Soviets. They hide in his cellar in Jalalabad for a week.
Rahim Khan is called by Amir his father’s alter ego, a business partner, who nevertheless is sensitive and compassionate in a way Amir’s father is not. He becomes a surrogate father figure to Amir and also helps to make restitution for his friend’s mistakes by telling Amir about the past and his relationship to Hassan. Rahim Khan knows Amir’s secret and gives him a chance to redeem himself by rescuing Sohrab.
Mullah Fatiullah Khan
Mullah Fatiullah Khan is a mullah who teaches Amir about Islam and frightens Amir with its strict laws. He is afraid his father will go to hell for drinking, but Baba is scornful of the mullahs.
Dr. Rasul is the beggar Amir meets on the street in Kabul, once a professor at the university who knew Amir’s mother when she taught there.
Sanaubar is Hassan’s Hazara mother, the second wife of Ali, in an arranged marriage. Her husband is homely and twice her age. A lascivious and flirtatious girl, she has an affair with the master, Baba, resulting in a pregnancy. When Hassan is born, and she sees his harelip, she refuses to hold him, running away with the gypsies. She returns in old age to be reconciled to her son and to help raise her grandson, Sohrab.
Sohrab is the ten-year-old orphaned son of Hassan who is first put in a Kabul orphanage where the children are starved, and then taken by Assef, a Taliban leader, for sexual purposes. He is rescued by Amir after Sohrab shoots out Assef’s eye with a slingshot, but when Sohrab thinks he has to go back to an orphanage, he tries to commit suicide. Amir finally takes him back to the United States to adopt him.
General Iqbal Taheri
General Iqbal Taheri is Soraya’s father and Amir’s father-in-law. He was a decorated general in Kabul working for the Ministry of Defense before the Russian invasion. In America he makes money from the flea market and welfare so he does not have to lower himself to get a job. He is a good man but stern and of the old order of Afghan culture. He waits in America to be recalled to duty for his government.
Jamila Taheri is the wife of the General, who was a talented singer but was not allowed to pursue a musical career once she married. She is a loving mother to Soraya and is especially fond of her son-in-law, Amir.
Soraya Taheri becomes Amir’s wife. Like he was, she was born in Afghanistan but becomes an American professional. She is a teacher, an intelligent companion, but she is childless, her one great sorrow.
Wahid is Farid’s brother in Jalalabad where Amir stays overnight on his way to Kabul.
Zaman is the orphanage director in Kabul who sells children to the Taliban.