Afghan Republican Coup 1973

[ 1973 ]

Between 1969 and 1973, instability ruled Afghan politics. The parliament was lethargic and deadlocked. Public dissatisfaction over the unstable government prompted growing political polarization as both the left and the right began to attract more members. Still personally popular, the king, Mohammad Zahir Shah (reigned 1933-73), nevertheless came under increasing criticism for not supporting his own prime ministers.

It was in this atmosphere of internal discontent and polarization and external shakiness that the king's cousin and brother-in-law and former prime minister as well as army commander, Lieutenant General Mohammad Daoud Khan, on July 17, 1973, implemented his coup d'état. He had been planning it for a year in response to the "anarchy and the anti-national attitude of the regime." While the king was out of the country for medical treatment, Daoud and a small military group seized power in an almost bloodless coup. The stability Zahir Shah had sought through constitutionally sanctioned limited democracy had not been achieved, and a generally favorable response greeted Daoud's reemergence even though it meant the demise of the monarchy Ahmad Shah Durrani established in 1747. Daoud Khan declared the country a republic with himself as president and premier.

Timelines of War, 490, 492; Military History, 926; Afghanistan - A Country Study.

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