Mohammed Zahir Shah

Mohammed Zahir Shah
King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan in 1963.jpg
Shah in 1963
King of Afghanistan
Reign8 November 1933 – 17 July 1973
Installation8 November 1933
PredecessorMohammed Nadir Shah
SuccessorMonarchy abolished (Daoud Khan as President of Afghanistan)
Head of House of Barakzai
Tenure17 July 1973 - 23 July 2007
PredecessorHimself As King of Afghanistan
SuccessorAhmad Shah Khan
Born15 October 1914[1]
Kabul, Afghanistan
Died23 July 2007(2007-07-23) (aged 92)
Kabul, Afghanistan
Maranjan Hill
SpouseHumaira Begum
IssuePrincess Bilqis Begum
Prince Muhammed Akbar Khan
Crown Prince Ahmad Shah Khan
Princess Maryam Begum
Prince Muhammed Nadir Khan
Prince Shah Mahmoud Khan
Prince Muhammed Daoud Pashtunyar Khan
Prince Mir Wais Khan
FatherMohammed Nadir Shah
MotherMah Parwar Begum
ReligionSunni Islam
SignatureMohammed Zahir Shah's signature

Mohammed Zahir Shah (Pashto/Dari: محمد ظاهر شاه,‎ 15 October 1914 – 23 July 2007) was the last king of Afghanistan, reigning from 8 November 1933 until he was deposed on 17 July 1973.[2] Serving for 40 years, Zahir was possibly the longest-serving ruler of Afghanistan since the foundation of the Durrani Empire in the 18th century, disputed with his earlier successor nearly a century prior, Dost Mohammad Khan, who also ruled for 40 years. He expanded Afghanistan's diplomatic relations with many countries, including with both sides of the Cold War.[3] In the 1950s, Zahir Shah began modernizing the country, culminating in the creation of a new constitution and a constitutional monarchy system. Demonstrating nonpartisanship,[4] his long reign was marked by peace in the country that was lost afterwards.[5]

In 1973, while Zahir Shah was undergoing medical treatment in Italy,[6] his regime was overthrown in a coup d'etat by his cousin and former prime minister, Mohammed Daoud Khan, who established a single-party republic, ending more than 225 years of continuous monarchical government.[7] He remained in exile near Rome until 2002, returning to Afghanistan after the end of the Taliban government. He was given the title Father of the Nation, which he held until his death in 2007.[1]

  1. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica, "Mohammad Zahir Shah"
  2. ^ "Profile: Ex-king Zahir Shah". 1 October 2001 – via
  3. ^ *C-SPAN: Afghan King & Queen 1963 Visit to U.S. Reel America Preview (official U.S. government video; public domain).
  4. ^ "Afghanistan".
  5. ^ Judah, Tim (23 September 2001). "Profile: Mohamed Zahir Shah" – via
  6. ^ Bearak, Barry (24 July 2007). "Mohammad Zahir Shah, Last Afghan King, Dies at 92". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  7. ^ "State funeral for Afghanistan's former President". UNAMA. 19 March 2009.

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