‘Friends?’ Assef said, laughing. ‘You pathetic fool! Someday you'll wake up from your little fantasy and learn just how good of a friend he is. Now, bas! Enough of this. Give us that kite.’
These prophetic words are uttered at the beginning of the book by Assef, Hassan’s attacker. Assef and his gang demand Hassan give him the blue kite he has retrieved for Amir. Hassan refuses. Assef calls him a “pathetic fool” for being loyal to Amir, a Pashtun, but Hassan asserts they are true friends. Assef says one day Hassan will wake up from his “fantasy,” suggesting that a Pashtun could never be loyal to a Hazara.
Besides, I didn’t fight the Shorawi for money. Didn’t join the Taliban for money either. Do you want to know why I joined them?
Amir offers to pay for Sohab’s release, but Assef refuses. Assef reveals that his involvement with the Taliban has nothing to do with money and everything to do with his devotion to the Taliban cause. Later, he tells of how his imprisonment by the Taliban led to a revelation that God was on his side, and that prompted him to join their cause of ethnic cleansing in Kabul.
[“]They dragged me out and he started kicking me. He had knee-high boots with steel toes that he wore every night for his little kicking game, and he used them on me. I was screaming and screaming and he kept kicking me and then, suddenly, he kicked me on the left kidney and the stone passed. Just like that! Oh the relief!” Assef laughed.
Assef recounts to Amir the abuse he endured while imprisoned by the Taliban. At the time, Assef suffered from kidney stones, and at one point the blunt force of the guard’s kicks was so hard, it caused a kidney stone to pass. Surprisingly, Assef laughs at this moment. He views the event as a sign that God is looking after him. In a parallel scene, Amir laughs after he wakes up from Assef’s beating, feeling relief.