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AFGHAN KING TO RETURN.

THE deposed king of Afghanistan will finally return home this week after three decades in exile.

King Mohammad Zaher Shah, 87, has lived in Rome since he was ousted in a palace coup by his cousin in 1973.

Yesterday, acting Afghan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai, left, flew to Rome to escort the former king home.

Karzai's spokesman, Yusuf Nuristani, said the leader would return with him tomorrow.

He added: "People are waiting for the old man to come. It will help bring peace to the country."

About 100 people, including officials from the interim government and Italian Ambassador Domenico Giorgi, crowded together at Kabul airport to watch Karzai leave yesterday.

The king is scheduled to open a grand council, or loya jirga, that will select a new transitional government for Afghanistan in June.

Zaher Shah was originally due back last month, but the trip was postponed at the last minute because of reports of possible assassination plot.

A special police unit will coordinate 24-hour protection for the former king.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 17, 2002
Words:169
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