Born in Kabul in 1939, Professor Tarzi completed his studies under the supervision of Professor Daniel Schlumberger, in the process of obtaining three Ph.Ds. From 1973 to 1979, he was Director of Archaeology and Preservation of Historical Monuments of Afghanistan as well as the Director General of the Archaeology Institute of Kabul. Tarzi was exiled to France in 1979, where he assumed the post of Professor of Eastern Archaeology at the University of Strasbourg.
He later directed the excavations in Bamiyan and Hadda on the sites of Tape Shotor and Tape Tope Kalan. He is currently Director for the French Archaeological Missions for the Surveys and Excavations of Bamiyan. Dr. Tarzi starred in Christian Frei's documentary The Giant Buddhas about the Taliban's destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan.
Professor Tarzi is the author of some sixty articles and books as well as president of the Association for the Protection of Afghan Archaeology (APAA), based in San Rafael, California.