The Kite Runner is set against the backdrop of political turmoil in Afghanistan, from the overthrow of the monarchy in the 1970s, to the rise of the Taliban regime in the 1990s. Some Afghans believed that the rise of the Taliban would be a beneficial change, since the Taliban were a local group of competent fighters heavily committed to religious principles. Almost immediately, however, the Taliban came to be as destructive a force in Afghanistan as the Soviet occupiers had been. The Taliban embraced a desire to destroy all aspects of Afghan culture that they believed were not compatible with a strict, perverted interpretation of Islam. In The Kite Runner, Assef represents this corrupted view, going as far as publicly stoning adulterers in the name of Allah and describing his killing of Hazaras as “virtuous, good, and decent” to Amir. The 2001 invasion of Afghanistan by the United States and other allied nations broke the Taliban’s control, but they remain a significant part of Afghan conflicts to this day.