the ruler of a Muslim country (especially of the former Ottoman Empire)
Hassan is telling Amir about a dream he had, which includes a phrase that Amir had actually carved into a tree. Born a servant and humbly devoted to his earthly and divine masters, Hassan is unlikely to really wish he were a sultan, but he would indulge in the dream to please Amir and give encouragement for the upcoming tournament.
They change the name of the lake after that, and call it the ‘Lake of Amir and Hassan, Sultans of Kabul,’ and we get to charge people money for swimming in it.”
Another definition of "salvation" is "the act of delivering from sin or saving from evil"--this goes with the idea of redemption. But at this point, Amir is more concerned with stopping his own pain of being ignored by his father. Amir's real need for salvation and redemption come later, not because of who he is but because of what he has done.
All I smelled was victory. Salvation. Redemption. If Baba was wrong and there was a God like they said in school, then He’d let me win.
the act of vindicating or defending against criticism or censure etc.
Another definition of "vindication" is "the justification for some act or belief"--this could also fit the example sentence, because in addition to wanting to defend himself against his father's disappointment in his lack of athletic ability, Amir seeks justification just for being alive, since his mother had died giving birth to him.
Then the old warrior would walk to the young one, embrace him, acknowledge his worthiness. Vindication. Salvation. Redemption. And then? Well...happily ever after, of course. What else?
But there were two things amid the garbage that I couldn’t stop looking at: One was the blue kite resting against the wall, close to the cast-iron stove; the other was Hassan’s brown corduroy pants thrown on a heap of eroded bricks.
That should have been fun, spending a day like that with Baba, hearing his stories. I finally had what I’d wanted all those years. Except now that I had it, I felt as empty as this unkempt pool I was dangling my legs into.
Amir doesn't exactly ask for the punishment so much as demand and curse at Hassan to hit him back. When Hassan instead crushes a pomegranate against his own forehead and asks "Are you satisfied?" the definition of "crave" as "have an appetite or great desire for" is emphasized.
I wished he’d give me the punishment I craved, so maybe I'd finally sleep at night.
Even at the dinner table, in the privacy of their home, people had to speak in a calculated manner—the rafiqs were in the classrooms too; they’d taught children to spy on their parents, what to listen for, whom to tell.
harshly uninviting or formidable in manner or appearance
Tomorrow morning, I’d wake up, peek out the window: No grim-faced Russian soldiers patrolling the sidewalks, no tanks rolling up and down the streets of my city, their turrets swiveling like accusing fingers, no rubble, no curfews, no Russian Army Personnel Carriers weaving through the bazaars.
The rest of that ride is scattered bits and pieces of memory that come and go, most of it sounds and smells: MiGs roaring past overhead; staccatos of gunfire; a donkey braying nearby; the jingling of bells and mewling of sheep; gravel crushed under the truck’s tires; a baby wailing in the dark; the stench of gasoline, vomit, and shit.