PARON (Pajhwok): The house and garden of the last king of Afghanistan, Mohammad Zahir Shah, in the Kamdesh district of eastern Nuristan province are teetering on the brink of destruction and need restoration, residents say.
Built on two acres of land in Kamo area, some parts of the house and garden have been damaged.
Local residents remember King Zahir Shah would arrive in summer for tourism and hunting and used to spend time in the house.
Gul Mohammad, a resident who is about 70 years old, told Pajhwok Afghan News he still remembered King Zahir Shah arrived on horseback and spent several days and nights in the house.
He said the four-room house was built on a small hill next to the garden. The house has two bathrooms along with a large living room. He said one of the rooms was now destroyed and some walls damaged.
He said the garden had various fruit trees, but now not a single one was left. The garden had a good building at the time.
Gul Mohammad said currently besides the garden, two large trees remained and the rest of the land was being cultivated by local residents.
He said the house and garden were Zahir Shah’s personal property which he had purchased from a resident of the area in return for land in capital Kabul.
According to his information, the king used to spend time in the house and garden every year for tourism and hunting. He called on the government to renovate the house and garden and turn it into a recreational area.
Abdul Ghani, another white-bearded man of Kamdesh district, told Pajhwok some parts of the Zahir Shah’s house had damaged and others destroyed with the passage of many decades and the structure now in danger of collapsing.
He said earlier the house and garden had a protective wall which collapsed years ago. He said an organization called Madera would take care of the house and the garden in the past. The organization had constructed a big room which had now destroyed/
He believed the house and garden of the last king were restored to their past glory, they would attract many tourists and would become a good source of income in future.
Nuristan information and culture director Maulvi Samiul Haq Haqbayan, while visiting the historical place, promised local residents that they would spare no effort to restore the house and the garden.
He added he was trying to officially register the Shahi Bagh with the Ministry of Information and Culture and prevent its destruction.
Zahir Shah ruled Afghanistan for at least half a century and his period is considered the most peaceful.
In 1973, while Zahir Shah was undergoing medical treatment in Italy, his regime was overthrown in a coup d’état by his cousin and former prime minister, Mohammad Daoud Khan, who established a single-party republic, ending more than 225 years of continuous monarchical government.
He remained in exile near Rome until 2002, returning to Afghanistan after the end of the Taliban government. He was given the title Father of the Nation, which he held until his death in 2007.