| ||Embassy of Afghanistan Expresses Condolences to the Afghan People upon the Passing of Father of the Nation Mohammad Zahir Shah|
Afghan Embassy, Wash. D.C.
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His Majesty Mohammad Zahir Shah, former King and Father of the Nation, passed away on Monday, July 23 at the age of 92. The late Mohammad Zahir Shah was known as the father of democracy and a symbol of national unity in Afghanistan . The Government of Afghanistan has announced a 3-day mourning period, during which all flags will fly at half mast.
President Karzai announced the former King's passing at a news conference in Kabul , praising the king for bringing development and education to Afghanistan . "With paramount grief, I would like to inform my countrymen that Mohammad Zahir Shah has bid farewell to this mortal world?He was the friend of his people. He believed in the rule of the people and in human rights," said President Karzai.
The Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington , DC expressed its condolences to the family of the late former King Zahir Shah and to the people of Afghanistan . ?His Majesty the former King will live in the hearts of the Afghan people and will be remembered as a benevolent, modest, unifying, just and patriotic leader. The former King was dedicated to Afghanistan ?s future, and worked throughout his life to further peace and strengthen justice. Today the Afghan nation has lost a loving father and patriarch,? said Ambassador Said T. Jawad. The Embassy will be holding a book of condolence signing for all diplomatic missions and international organizations on Wednesday July 25 from 9 a.m.?12 p.m. and 1?4 p.m. and Thursday July 26 from 9 a.m.?12 p.m.
Prayer services for the Afghan community will be held on Sunday. The time and location will be announced on this webpage shortly.
Through his 40-year reign from 1933?1973, King Zahir Shah was a cherished symbol of peace and unity. Born October 15, 1914, Zahir Shah was proclaimed monarch in 1933 at age 19.. Guided by an enlightened vision of a modern Afghanistan , the King transformed the country into a constitutional monarchy in 1964. The new constitution mandated primary education for all children, and gave women the right to vote, attend school and work. King Zahir Shah built Afghanistan ?s first university.
Former King Zahir Shah returned to Afghanistan after nearly 30 years of exile in April 2002. "I wish just to be able to contribute to my country and serve my people," he said upon his return. The former King played a vital role in Afghanistan ?s reconstruction process, presiding over the Loya Jirga that produced the Interim Afghan administration. He was given the tile of bab-i-millat or Father of the Nation, and was regularly consulted by the Afghan government and visiting dignitaries. His presence in Kabul was a source of pride and tranquility for the Afghan people.
The body of the former King will lie in state at the Eid Gah mosque in Kabul before burial on Tuesday. The former King will be laid to rest in a mausoleum next to his father on a hill overlooking Kabul .