Mariam and Laila’s husband, Rasheed, is an older man who owns a shoe shop in Kabul. He is the primary antagonist of the novel. Rasheed exemplifies the very worst treatment women endure at the hands of men, and his violence grows in intensity as political violence overtakes the city. When Rasheed first marries Mariam, he is not very hostile and even shows her a few small kindnesses. This façade is upheld at the beginning of his marriage to Laila as well. However, his true hostile and abusive nature are quickly revealed as the novel progresses. His aggressive behavior is bolstered by his ardent support of the Taliban. Their laws reinforce the way he treats Mariam and Laila, often beating them and using harsh language to get them to submit to him. Rasheed doesn’t value education and instead focuses on his reputation and how he is viewed by society. He takes the closure of his business very hard and compensates by buying his son pleasures that he truly cannot afford. The fact that Rasheed lost both a son and a wife early on is offered to humanize him, but by the end of the novel, his character is presented as an irredeemable villain.