23.07.

2007: The Last King of Afghanistan Dies

2007: The Last King of Afghanistan Dies
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/Zahir Shah is seated at the far right during the oath ceremony of Hamid Karzai on 7 December 2004

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 23 July 2007
  • Mohammed Zahir Shah was king of Afghanistan over a long period of almost 40 years (from 1933 till 1973). After he was ousted, he lived in Italy for 29 years.

On this day in 2007, the last King of Afghanistan Mohammed Zahir Shah died.

 He was born in Kabul in 1914, and was the son of the Afghan King Muhammad Nadir Shah. 

He ascended to the throne in 1933, when he was only 19 years old, because his father was assassinated while visiting a school. Both were members of the Pashtun Barakzai royal dynasty.

Mohammed Zahir Shah was king of Afghanistan over a long period of almost 40 years (from 1933 till 1973). He was eventually deposed by his own cousin – Mohammed Daoud Khan – who was the son of his half uncle. After the coup, Mohammed Daoud Khan became the first president of Afghanistan.

The coup in which King Mohammed Zahir Shah was overthrown from the Afghan throne was made in 1973, when the king was in Italy for medical treatment. 

After he was overthrown, he remained to live in exile in Italy. He lived in a villa north of Rome, in an elite suburb named Olgiata, for 29 years. 

It is located between Rome and Lake Bracciano (Lago di Bracciano), where there is also a golf course (some call Olgiata the Roman Beverly Hills). Meanwhile, Afghanistan was occupied by the Soviets and Taliban later came to power.

Mohammed Zahir Shah returned to Afghanistan in 2002, after the fall of the Taliban government. Although he returned as the “Father of the Nation”, monarchy was not restored and his royal title was not returned to him.

However, he was able to return to the royal palace in Kabul and his relatives were assigned with important posts within the government. Mohammed Zahir Shah died in Kabul, on this day at the high age of 92 years.

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