Thursday, January 25, 2007

from taliban oppression to a war-torn country to taco bell

this afternoon i was bitter because i had already driven 2/3 up the canyon to go snowboarding before i realized i forgot my gloves at home.

my life is so easy.

"what is your favorite thing about america?"

"my ballroom dance class."

tonight i introduced my friend najib to taco bell, american malls, and american music. he loved the music (especially you jeff), the mall taught him what america was all about, and i'm not sure if his stomach was ready for the steak grilled stuffed burrito.

while eating my own chicken baja chalupa, i listened as najib told me of life under taliban oppression - witnessing neighbors shot point blank by taliban officials responding to uninvestigated accusations. men dragged through the rocky streets until they were dead. blood dripping from hands recently severed from an alleged thief. to top it off, as najib put it, "life was boring. there was no music."

after the u.s. overthrew the taliban government, the land broke out into tribal warfare. he never traveled without armed friends for protection. while assisting a u.s. journalist, najib found himself in a bloody cross fire between 475 fighting tribesman. he hid beneath a swarm of bullets and watched men just feet away from him blown to pieces by an rpg. when the firing ceased, only 75 of those fighters survived.

because he assisted this journalist, najib soon found himself as the target of an angry warlord who wished him dead. with the help of this journalist and some uvsc professors, najib was able to secure himself a visa and come here for an education.

to top all of that off, najib is the funniest afghani i have ever met (ok, he's the only afghani i have ever met).

to learn more about his fascinating life, you can meet and listen to najib tell his story tomorrow (friday) night at the ken sanders bookstore in salt lake city at 7pm.

you can also read this great article about him in the recent salt lake city weekly, as well as this ksl story (where you can see my desk in the background), and this deseret news article.


  1. What a night. He really is the funniest Afghani.

    When I woke up this morning, I had no idea that I would end my night in such awestruck realization of the finer things in life... it truly is amazing how small things such as a trip to Taco Bell, the mall, and a local music venue can change your life.

    Najib is amazing. That meal was one i will never forget. Just like you said in the second sentence of your blog "my life is so easy." my problems are nothing. money, school, women... all nothing... life is taken for granted.

    I was planning on going to Sundance today with friends, then when you invited me to Taco Bell, I'm glad I chose the latter. And I am very grateful that I did. "Heading to the border" may have changed my life.

    His experiences were so unique, that no words or cinematic releases can adequately describe them. The stories were chilling, intense, and unbelievable.

    His firsthand stories of oppression by the Taliban were eye-opening. It was surreal.

    I had considered my last week very, very stressful- but it vanished almost completely after hearing his stories. My problems now seem meaningless.

    This night really changed my life because I feel that my problems seem smaller. The world out there is more real than we can ever imagine.

    Thanks, Loyd for the call to Taco Bell.


  2. When you come to think about it the Taliban is very similar to the Mormon religion. Joseph Smith had good men castrated if they refused to share their wives with good Brother Joseph. Good Brother Joseph also ordered the murders of numerous people. Joseph was a ruthless mad man, and yet he is the rock and foundation of the LDS. Go figure.

  3. That burrito he's eating looks delicious.

  4. Are you familiar with Scott Carrier's pieces for NPR and "This American Life" (, listen for free). (the guy who brought Najib here)? He's done some amazing reporting, but his more free-form stories are captivating. He did a great one on the people in the Avenues who saw Elizabeth Smart while she was still missing and why they didn't recognize her. Anyway he's a very interesting guy in his own right.


Please provide a name or consistent pseudonym with your comments and avoid insults or personal attacks against anyone or any group. All anonymous comments will be immediately deleted. Other comments are subject to deletion at my discretion.