Longer Live the King!

CLAUDIA GAZZINI/AP

Exiled Afghan monarch Mohammed Zahir Shah seen in Rome earlier this year

The last time Afghanistan pinned its hopes on Mohammed Zahir Shah, he was not much more than a boy. In 1933, as a 19-year-old Prince, he witnessed the assassination of his father, King Nadir Shah, and was called on to take the throne to spare his nation from potentially bloody turmoil. He would go on to rule Afghanistan for 40 years, bringing an era of relative peace and prosperity and unprecedented democratic reforms. Displayed prominently today in Zahir Shah's plush, carpeted living room in Rome is a 1949 photograph of himself in military uniform, his piercing dark eyes projecting a certain...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!