Mohammad Zahir Shah, the last king of Afghanistan who returned from three decades of exile to bless his war-battered country's fragile course toward democracy, has died, President Hamid Karzai said Monday. He was 92.
Weak if well-meaning during his 40-year reign, Zahir Shah was a symbol of yearned-for peace and unity in a nation still struggling to emerge from the turmoil that began with his 1973 ouster in a palace coup.
When the fall of the Taliban at the end of 2001 offered fresh hope for national reconciliation, many clamored for Zahir Shah's return - not only from exile but to retake the throne.
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