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03-10-10, 21:17
Zahir Khan was proclaimed King (Shah) on 8 November 1933 at the age of 19, after the assassination of his father Mohammed Nadir Shah. Following his ascension to the throne he was given the regnal title "He who puts his trust in God, follower of the firm religion of Islam".[4] For the first thirty years he did not effectively rule, ceding power to his paternal uncles, Sardar Mohammad Hashim Khan and Sardar Shah Mahmud Khan.[8] This period fostered a growth in Afghanistan's relations with the international community as in 1934, Afghanistan joined the League of Nations while also receiving formal recognition from the United States.[9] Throughout the 1930s, agreements on foreign assistance and trade had been reached with many countries, most notably Germany, Italy, and Japan.[10]

Zahir Shah provided aid, weapons and Afghan fighters to Turkic muslim Uighur and Kirghiz rebels who had established the First East Turkestan Republic. The aid proved to be useless, as the Afghan and Turkic Muslim Uighur and Kirghiz forces were defeated by the Chinese muslim 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army) led by General Ma Zhancang at the Battle of Kashgar (1934) and Battle of Yarkand. All the Afghan volunteers were slaughtered by the Chinese muslim troops, who then abolished the First East Turkestan Republic, and reestablished Chinese government control over the area.[11]

Following the end of the Second World War, Zahir Shah recognised the need for the modernisation of Afghanistan and recruited a number of foreign advisers to assist with the process.[12] During this period Afghanistan's first modern university was founded.[12] During his reign a number of potential advances and reforms were derailed as a result of factionalism and political infighting.[13]

Zahir Shah was able to govern on his own in 1963[8] and despite the factionalism and political infighting a new constitution was introduced in 1964 which turned Afghanistan into a modern democratic state by introducing free elections, a parliament, civil rights, liberation for women and universal suffrage.[12]

By the time he returned to Afghanistan in the twenty-first century, his rule was characterized by a lengthy span of peace, but with no significant progress.[14]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Zahir_Shah