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Last Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007, 12:59 GMT
Kite Runner boys exit Afghanistan
Ahmad Khan
Actor Ahmad Khan has left Kabul
The four child stars of The Kite Runner have been flown out of Afghanistan over concerns for their safety, the makers of the film have said.

The boys arrived in the United Arab Emirates last week, confirmed Megan Colligan from Paramount Vantage.

The move comes amid worries the actors could be targeted over a homosexual rape scene in the film.

The Kite Runner is based on the 2003 best-selling novel by Afghan-American writer Khaled Hosseini.

Film executives said they felt they should get the boys out of the country before the film opened in the US on 14 December.

'Safe and stable'

Paramount had delayed the release of the film by six weeks over fears for the stars' safety.

"Last Friday, the four child actors from The Kite Runner left Afghanistan following the recommendations of several non-government organizations and Afghan experts concerning their security," the film company said in a statement.

"Their safety and well-being has always been our utmost concern and we are thrilled we were able to get them to a safe and stable location."

Khaled Hosseini
Hosseini recently released his second novel

The Kite Runner tells the story of a young boy living through the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of the Taleban.

The harrowing scene - in which the novel's protagonist witnesses his best friend being raped but fails to intervene - is a pivotal moment in the story.

Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada, who plays the victim of the attack in the film, has earned glowing reviews, with the New York Times describing it as being "among the great child performances on film".

Although The Kite Runner is not scheduled for release in Afghanistan, there are concerns that pirated DVDs could reach Kabul and some residents could react violently to the controversial scenes.

There are also fears that the film could stir tensions for playing on stereotypes of Afghan ethnic groups.

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