Bookseller of Kabul

1660 words 7 pages
Contemporary Perspectives
Bookseller of Kabul
March 1st, 2010

In this paper I will discuss family life in Afghanistan. After reading “The Bookseller of Kabul” and doing some research on other Afghan families I believe that the Khan family is almost the same as a typical Afghan family. Yes, there are some differences but in the end they act and live as most others in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is a country that has been divided by several ethnic groups, with the two most relevant being the Pashtun and the Tajik. It is hard to determine the percentage of the population that compromises each ethnic group due to the lack of census in the countries for many years. However, the CIA World factbook gives a rough estimate: Pashtun 42
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The burqa was worn before the Taliban but it was not a mandatory dress code. They could choose to wear a scarf to cover their heads instead.
It is frowned upon when women mingle with men outside their family (Andrews, Boyle and Carr, 329). We can see this throughout the book as well. The women from the Khan family hardly ever socialized with men that were not related to them. We also have the example of Saliqa, a girl who exchanged notes with a boy, sharing a taxi and going to a park to talk. Someone had seen them and told Saliqa’s uncle about what had happened. He called her a whore and a disgrace to her family. She was locked in her room and beaten almost to the point where she would have needed medical care. This is something most afghan families share in common, even the Khan family and this is shown when Sharifa is telling her husband Sultan the story about Saliqa and his response to the incident was: “If she is not a prostitute now, she could easily become one” (Seierstad, 49). Women are simply not allowed to socialize with men that are not relatives or they will be punished. In rare occasions, the man might propose to the woman and the crime might be forgiven (Seierstad, 33).
Children’s fate also lies in the hands of the father and most do not attend school either. They start working at a very young age, just like Sultan’s youngest son Aimal who is