Photos from Afghanistan in the last days of the monarchy

In 1973, while Zahir Shah was abroad in Italy, his cousin Mohammad Daoud Khan staged a coup d’état and established an autocratic republican government. As a former Prime Minister, Daoud Khan had been forced to resign by Zahir Shah a decade earlier and felt that Zahir Shah lacked leadership and that the parliamentary system prevented real progressivism. In August 1973, Zahir Shah sent a letter from Rome to Khan in Kabul declaring his abdication, saying he respected “the will of my compatriots” after realizing the people of Afghanistan “with absolute majority welcomed a Republican regime”.