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Ex-King Ready to Go Home - 2002-01-27


Afghanistan's former King Zahir Shah reportedly is ready to return home after 28 years of exile in Italy.

The king's son (Mirwais Shah) told Reuters (news agency) on Saturday that his father would leave Rome in mid-March, accompanied by Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai.

The king hopes to be in Kabul by March 21st, his son says -- in time for traditional (Nowrus) celebrations of the new year and new growing season.

Zahir Shah, who is 87 years old and ailing, has been living in exile since 1973, when he was ousted in a bloodless palace coup. His son says the former king is happy to be able to return home and help his people.

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