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Print guide 2002
Please see Bulletin Board for further
memories and details.
www.waisfaizi.org is now
online and a magazine will be produced in his memory.
All photographs and stories welcome.
Some pictures received so far are temporarily at www.afrikamedia.com/wais.htm.
from 2004 written by Dominic Medley. I lived in the Mustafa Hotel for ten
months in 2004 but have known Wais since early 2002. In a city of transient
friendships he was the enduring one.
Wais Faizi is the manager of the Mustafa Hotel in Kabul.
He’s our friend and hero of the hotel. He’s been a friend to every guest that
has ever stayed there. He’s helped them all, whatever they do, during their
time in Kabul.
Wais was probably first made famous by the UK Sunday Times correspondent Christina Lamb. In December 2001, just a couple of
weeks after the fall of the Taliban, she drove around Kabul
in Wais’ 1968 Camero convertible. Christina nicknamed Wais “The Fonz of
Wais is in his late thirties. He spent much of his childhood in Germany and then New Jersey. His accent is from New York, where he
worked as a car dealer, mixed in with his love of Al Pacino in the film
For much of the 1990s Wais was in and out of Kabul
from New York.
He grew his beard when necessary during the Taliban regime, and shaved for
the return to America.
Wais’ most treasured possession has to be his Glock automatic pistol. He’s
also got an infra red sight for it; he’s just missing a silencer. On one
occasion a fellow journalist Dan, spotted someone walking on the roof of the
Mustafa Hotel. Wais rushed up to the terrace locking and loading his Glock as
he ran up the stairs. Sure enough on the roof was an Afghan crawling along
the corrugated metal. Wais shouted and then lit the guy up like a Christmas
tree with the red spot from the infra red dead centre on his chest. Massood
from the bar, a boxer, jumped onto the roof and got the guy in a headlock.
All the time Wais had the roof crawler illuminated with his infra red sights.
Wais probably wasn’t desperate to let a round off, he spends enough time in
shooting ranges, but he would have done anything to defend his family’s
business. The Afghan claimed he was returning to one of his shops where he’d
left a key and couldn’t get back in through the door.
Wais is one of the most generous people in Kabul.
He throws regular BBQs and kebab nights, he takes people out and about in his
convertible and his Wrangler jeep, he lays on Red, Black, Blue and Green
label Johnny Walker whiskeys and has always been a source of information for
journalists. In the early days of the hotel at the end of 2001 and early
2002, every journalist in Afghanistan
ended up staying at the Mustafa Hotel. There was just no where else to stay
and no where else to hang out with colleagues. But by the October 2004
presidential elections it was interesting to see how many returned to stay in
the Mustafa Hotel or had moved to the more upmarket Gandamack Lodge set up by
BBC cameraman Peter Jouvenal. Wais
would shout “I helped all these guys and look how few of them god dam don’t
even bother to come and say hello. If it wasn’t for me here they’d be stuck
in the god dam Panjshir valley.”