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Mohammed Daoud Khan

Mohammed Daoud Khan

Mohammed Daoud Khan (18 July 1909 – 28 April 1978) was the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Afghanistan from 1953 to 1963 and the President of Afghanistan from 1973 to 1978. He overthrew King Mohammed Zahir Shah in 1973’s Saur Revolution, but was killed in a communist coup in 1973


Prince Mohammed Daoud was born in Kabul in 1909, a member of the ruling family of the Kingdom of Afghanistan. He was the nephew of King Mohammed Nadir Shah and cousin of Mohammed Zahir Shah. In 1939 he was made a Lieutenant-General, and became Prime Minister in 1953, serving until 1963. In 1962, Pakistan and Afghanistan fought a war when Afghanistan claimed their rights to “Pashtunistan”, and Daoud sent troops to invade Bajaur. The Afghans were routed by the Pakistani Army and in March 1963 the issue was resolved when Daoud resigned.

In 1973, Daoud seized power from his cousin Mohammed Zahir Shah and proclaimed the Republic of Afghanistan, a republic that he became the President of. In 1978, after crushing Islamic fundamentalists in his country, he reached an agreemnt with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan over the Pashtunistan crisis. However, that year the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) grew angry with Daoud. Afghanistan relied on the Soviet Union to supply planes, weapons, and tanks, as well as much of their oil. In 1978, the Soviets backed a coup in Kabul.


Coup leader Colonel Abdul Qadir Dagarwal left by helicopter for the Bagram air base. There he took charge and organized air strikes on the royal palace, where Daoud and the presidential guard were conducting a desperate defense. Fighting continued the whole day and into the night, when the defenders were finally overwhelmed. Daoud and almost all of his family members, including women and children, died in the fighting. Altogether there were possibly as many as two thousand fatalities, both military and civilian.


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