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Ex-King Mohammad Zahir Shah Plans to Return Home - 2002-02-08

Afghanistan's former King Mohammad Zahir Shah says he plans to end nearly 30 years of exile and return home for good in March.

A son of the former king says his father hopes to return to Afghanistan before March 21st, a holiday that had been outlawed by the country's Taleban rulers.

The former king is considered a unifying force in Afghanistan after decades of strife between rival factions. The Reuters news agency quotes the former ruler's son as saying his father intends to bring democracy to Afghanistan.

The former Afghan king is 87 years old and has been living in Rome since 1973, when he was ousted in a coup. He became Afghanistan's king in 1933.