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Thursday, 18 April, 2002, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
In pictures: Afghan ex-king returns
After 29 years in exile, Afghanistan's 87-year-old former king, Zahir Shah, has returned to his war-ravaged homeland in a move many hope will help bring unity.

Escorted from Rome by interim leader Hamid Karzai, the ex-monarch was warmly welcomed by dignitaries, officials, warlords and supporters.

Former Afghan king Zahir Shah arrives at Kabul Airport
There was a red carpet and honour guard for the ex-monarch as he stepped off the plane in Kabul.

Afghan police officers hold back crowds
Security was tight around the airport as supporters pushed forward to see their former king.

Interim leader Hamid Karzai (left) with Zahir Shah
Arriving as an ordinary citizen, the former leader wore a leather jacket alongside the brightly clad Karzai.

Afghan men celebrate the return.
Afghans celebrated his return with folk music and dancing.

Zahir Shah leaves Kabul airport in a limousine
Supporters clapped as a motorcade whisked their old king away.

Silk-covered bed in a palace sitting-room
Parts of his old palace are still intact but the ex-king will be staying at new home in Kabul's suburbs.

Foreign peacekeepers set up security fences near the villa
The ex-king will be protected by barbed wire there.

Mausoleum of Zahir Shah's father
His father's war-damaged mausoleum stands as a reminder of Afghanistan's potential for violence
See also:

17 Apr 02 | South Asia
No ordinary homecoming
18 Apr 02 | South Asia
Kabul joy as ex-king returns
01 Oct 01 | South Asia
Profile: Ex-king Zahir Shah
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