The son of Afghan bankers, Khairzada originally came to the United States in 1972 to study at New York University. In 1978, Afghanistan’s communist parties joined together to orchestrate a coup d’etat against the Afghan king. Khairzada says at the time, he was in India for medical care. His father feared that if his son came back to Kabul, he would not be allowed to return to the United States, as that country was recalling its embassy staff. Khairzada’s father quickly arranged for Khairzada to return to the U.S.