Will Zahir Shah bring peace to Afghanistan?

King Zahir Shah must soon arrive in Afghanistan. The exact time is being kept secret from security reasons. The 87-year-old king, who spent 29 years in exile, is returning to his country and intends to bring peace to this long-suffering country. Zahir Shah says he will do his best to bring his country up from its ruins. He says that he is going to Afghanistan as an ordinary citizen. “If people want, I will be monarch,” – Zahir Shah specified. He called all Afghans to leave behind their last three dozens years of bloody civil war and join efforts in building of a democratic, stable state, Reuters reports. According to the monarch, he understands many things have changed during the years of his absence. He is aware of the scale of the destruction in Afghanistan. However, this does not hinder him from believing that “Kabul will be rebuilt and will become more beautiful than before and that the whole Afghanistan will be restored.” Members of the king’s family state that, after returning to Kabul, Zahir Shah will never leave it.

The king, who lost his power as a result of a bloodless coup in 1973, has been living in Italy without hope of return. However, the Taliban and Americans helped. As a result of their fight, Zahir Shah will ascend the throne. Will this bring appeasement to the country, which still has not returned from the war? Will he be capable of uniting different ethnic forces into a nation? In a low voice, almost whispering, Zahir Shah says that the Afghan monarchy will be constitutional and will rest upon the whole nation’s support. In the meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the conflict between different ethnic groups is still alive, which could grow into a new civil war. The king, together with the acting state’s head Karzai, will embody the Pashtun power. While Tajiks from Northern Afghanistan will hardly be satisfied with such situation. It is namely to the Tajiks that all key institutions belong. However, while Americans are in Afghanistan, they will control all the events in the country, but what will happen, when the “liberators” leave Afghanistan? The 87-year-old king is very optimistic. He believes that Afghans do not want to fight against each other, while foreigners cause the quarrels between them.

According to Reuters, people with machine-guns could be seen before Zahir Shah’s residence in Rome. Concrete barriers protect all entrances to the house.

Inside the residence, there is a more powerful guard. According to the monarch, he is not concerned with his security in Afghanistan. The king as a true Muslim believes his fate cannot be changed. However, is he able to change the Afghan nation’s fate?

Sergei Borisov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/25/38775.html

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