Due to Afghan mores concerning male rape, Paramount Vantage agreed to relocate the young actors out of the country to the United Arab Emirates and arrange visas, housing and schooling for the young actors and jobs for their guardians. Paramount Vantage accepts responsibility for the living expenses of Zekeria Ebrahimi, Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada, Ali Danish Bakhtyari and Sayed Jafar Masihullah Gharibzada until they reach adulthood, a cost some estimated at up to $500,000.
Most of the Afghanistan scenes were shot in Kashgar and Tashkurgan, in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. The DVD commentary mentions that scenes shot in Kashgar include: the kite tournament, the mosque where Amir prays, and Rahim Khan's apartment in Peshawar, Pakistan. Scenes shot in Tashkurgan include the opening scenes of a kite duel and the boys running the kite, the pomegranate tree, and the Taliban compound where Amir meets Sohrab. The wedding and the soccer match were shot in Beijing. The San Francisco bar scene was also shot in China.
Author Khaled Hosseini describes the filming (in Kashgar, China) of the Kabul kite tournament scenes: "There weren't actually any kites in the sky. We were just kind of looking up at these strings going up to these cables and hanging from the other side there were water bottles to give the string a sense of tension." To which director Marc Forster adds "Yes, because we had no wind." CG kites were added in post-production.
In the DVD commentary, David Benioff said Uncle Saifo's lines in Dari are completely different from the English subtitles. Director Marc Forster said that the improvisation technique was common among the Afghan actors, many of whom weren't professional actors.
Author Khaled Hosseini mentions in the commentary that the name on the door "Dr. Amani" is his homage to his medical school roommate. He mentions in the documentary "Words from the Kite Runner" also on the DVD that he, himself, was a practicing physician for eight and a half years before choosing to concentrate on writing after 'The Kite Runner' book became successful.
In the DVD commentary, Mark Forster said he insisted that the Afghani characters speak Dari to make the film as authentic as possible. Author Khaled Hosseini says "Iran and Afghanistan share a language. They call it Farsi in Iran, and we call it Dari in Afghanistan. It's essentially the same language, but the accent is very different." The man at the soccer game speaks in Pashto, Afghanistan's other main language.
In the book the servant boy, Hassan, was a harelip (cleft upper lip), but that was left out of the film because it would have required two hours of makeup every day, it would have been difficult for the boy to act in the makeup, Director Mark Forster didn't want to put the boy through it, and it wasn't essential to the script.
Amir's name is not announced at his graduation. In the book, Baba and Amir's surname was never revealed, which raised a quandary with the screenplay. It was resolved by ending the scene as the name "June Kitagawa" is announced. In the DVD commentary, director Marc Forster said that he asked Khaled Hosseini to choose a last name to show on the prop book's dust cover. He choose "Qadiri".