S3E6: How Networks Support People Displaced by War with Khusraw Razbaan Ahmadzai

In this episode, I speak with Khusraw Razbaan Ahmadzai. He is a friend and colleague of my partner. While I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him on zoom often, we’ve never actually met in person. Razbaan is a proud dad as well as a network and systems engineer. He spent his early childhood in Kabul, Afghanistan before moving to Islamabad, Pakistan during the civil war in the early 90s. He returned to Afghanistan in the early 2000s and eventually relocated to the US.

In this episode we talk about:

  • What it’s like to grow up in a typical Afghan family
  • What it feels like to be part of a community displaced by war
  • The role of the Afghan diaspora in his childhood
  • How networks allowed him to access professional opportunities as the situation in his home country evolved
  • He reflects on his learnings and shares recommendations he has for others facing displacement


  • The pros and cons of tribal family names in Afghan culture [3:17]
  • Growing up in Kabul as a small child during the civil war [3:58]
  • Multi-generational living and family responsibilities [6:06]
  • Leaving the family home and moving to Islamabad, Pakistan [7:50]
  • A growing diaspora in Pakistan displaced by the war [9:09]
  • Diversity within the Afghan diaspora and how that compared to living in his home country [10:28]
  • The role of the global Afghan diaspora in helping people displaced by the civil war [13:08]
  • Shared desire to return to home and not be dependent on others [15:58]
  • The tangible support that displaced communities provided to each other [16:47]
  • Lack of class hierchy in his displaced community [18:20]
  • Integration with the local population in Pakistan [19:07]
  • Reintegration back into Afghan society after the war [20:04]
  • Harnessing networks for career opportunities [21:40]
  • The role of international businesses community in providing access [23:22]
  • Opportunity to give back and  empathy for the global diaspora [25:05]
  • “Life is based on relationships” [26:56]
  • Strong appreciation for diversity and ability to find common ground [27:45]
  • How fear holds us back from connecting with others [29:23]
  • The impact of mindset and networks on young children who are faced with this situation [31:04]