Mohammed Zahir Shah

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Mohammed Zahir Shah (15 October 1914 – 23 July 2007) was the last King (Shah) of Afghanistan, reigning for four decades, from 1933 until he was ousted by a coup in 1973. Following his return from exile he was given the title 'Father of the Nation' in 2002 which he held until his death.[2]


Family background and early life

Zahir Shah was born on October 15, 1914, in Kabul, Afghanistan.[2] He was the son of Mohammed Nadir Shah, a senior member of the Barakzai royal family and commander in chief of the Afghan army under former king Amanullah Khan. Nadir Shah assumed the throne after the execution of Habibullah Ghazi on 10 October 1929.[3] Mohammed Zahir's father, son of Sardar Mohammad Yusuf Khan, was born in Dehradun, British India, his family having been exiled following the second Anglo-Afghan war. Nadir Shah was a descendant of Sardar Sultan Mohammed Khan Telai, half-brother of Amir Dost Mohammad Khan. His grandfather Mohammad Yahya Khan (father in law of Amir Yaqub Khan) was in charge of the negotiations with the British leading to the Treaty of Gandamak. After the British invasion following the killing of Sir Louis Cavagnari in 1879, Yaqub Khan, Yahya Khan and his sons, Princes Mohammad Yusuf Khan and Mohammad Asef Khan, were seized by the British and transferred under custody to the British Raj, where they forcibly remained until the two princes were invited back to Afghanistan by Emir Abdur Rahman Khan in the last year of his reign (1901). Durign the reign of Amir Habibullah they received the title of Companions of the King (Musahiban).

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