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By Steven Otfinoski

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Extra info for Afghanistan (Nations in Transition)

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After much fanfare, the 87-year-old Zahir returned to a free and democratic Afghanistan in April 2002 and was warmly welcomed by THE ROCKY ROAD TO NATIONHOOD (1919–1979) ■ 17 Saqqao, whose name literally meant “Son of the Water Carrier,” seized the capital of Kabul. Seeking to legitimatize his rule, Saqqao changed his name to Habibullah Ghazi II. But he remained in power only nine months, after which he was arrested and executed by Amanullah’s exiled cousin Muhammad Nader Shah (1883–1933), a descendant of Dost Mohammad.

Nonetheless, he managed to unite a fragmented country. He was assassinated in 1933 by a member of a the Afghan people. Today he is a symbol of a peaceful past and a brighter future for millions of Afghans. King Zahir Shah, Afghanistan’s last monarch, is seen here in exile in Italy in 1987. He finally returned to his homeland in April 2002 to play a role in unifying his country. (AP/ Wide World Photos) h 18 ■ AFGHANISTAN family with whom he had been feuding for years. On Nader Shah’s death his son Mohammed Zahir Shah (see sidebar on pp.

28 ■ AFGHANISTAN The morale of the Afghan army was reaching an all-time low. The army had shrunk from over 100,000 fighters at the start of the war to less than 25,000. Many Afghans drafted into the army deserted at the first opportunity. Morale was also low among Soviet troops, and anti-war feelings at home were intensifying. Gorbachev knew he had to end the war or lose face in a Soviet Union that was already cracking at the seams from decades of misrule and corruption. The End of One War On April 14, 1988, a peace agreement was signed between the Soviets and Afghan representatives.

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