Former king Mohammad Zahir Shah set foot on Afghan soil for the first time in 29 years to assume a new role as the father figure of his traumatised nation. Zahir Shah, 87, stepped off an Italian military plane followed by interim cabinet chairman Hamid Karzai and was greeted by senior tribal elders and ministers at Kabul’s bomb-scarred international airport. A military honour guard stood to attention as the former king walked across the tarmac over a red carpet, flanked by Karzai and Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Rashid Dostam, a powerful warlord from the north. His return from Italy for the first time since he was ousted in a coup in 1973 is seen as highly symbolic of Afghanistan’s return to stability after more than two decades of war. Security was extremely tight at the airport. “His role will be to promote unity and stability,” Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah said after accompanying the ex-king on his return flight. Abdullah said those closest to Zahir Shah on the Italian military C-130 plane described him as emotional as he flew into Afghan airspace. Some of the tribal chiefs and officials rushed to kiss Zahir Shah’s hand in greeting, as security agents tried to keep them from swamping the aged former monarch.
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1945 Soviet Union and Bolivia establish diplomatic relations.
1946 The League of Nations is officially dissolved.
1956 American film actress Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier III of Monaco
1965 Uganda becomes the first non-communist nation to denounce US involvement in Vietnam.
1980 Former Rhodesia becomes independent Zimbabwe.
1983 Sixty-two people, including 17 Americans, are killed at the US Embassy in Beirut.
1986 Angry crowds protest outside American embassies throughout the world as backlash continues against US attack on Libya.
1988 US Navy destroys two offshore Iranian oil platforms and bombs two frigates in retaliation for a mine explosion that damaged a US frigate.
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1993 Pakistan President Gulam Ishaq Khan sacks Nawaz Sharif as prime minister.
1994 Brian Lara scores 375 against England to beat Sobers’ record.
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