The Royal Solution

As king of Afghanistan, Mohammed Zahir Shah used to golf, ski, shoot partridge and fish for trout in the Hindu Kush. Today the 86-year-old Shah lives in quiet exile in Rome, confining himself to the odd game of chess, rarely venturing outside his villa. He seems an unlikely candidate to unify Afghanistan and cleanse it of terrorist camps. But as America and its allies seek a political alternative to the fanatical Taliban, the aging former monarch has suddenly found himself in the world spotlight. Diplomats and Afghan opposition leaders are flocking to Rome to meet him, while inside Afghanistan hope is...

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