-VoltaireFrench author, humanist, rationalist, & satirist (1694 - 1778)
King Zahir Shar returned to Kabul from Italy in April 2002 after 29 years in exile. For many Afghans, especially the older generation, the king’s 40-year rule from 1933 is regarded as a period of peace and stability when women were educated and a free press encouraged. Zahir shah was born Oct 15th 1914 and educated in Kabul and Paris. He became king in 1933 just hours after his father’s assassination. But his cousin and a former prime minister, Mohammad Daud, deposed the king during a coup in July 1973 while he was receiving medical treatment in Italy, bringing to an end the rule of the Durrani dynasty and a monarchy in Afghanistan. Daud declared himself president of a new Republic of Afghanistan. In 2002 the king returned to Kabul from Rome expressing no political ambitions. Later that year he opened the June Loya Jirga grand assembly at which there were moves to have him reinstated.