The former king of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah, has died at the age of 92. Zahir Shah's 40-year reign ended along with the Afghan monarchy in a 1973 coup, and many Afghans have come to look back at the period as a time of peace, prosperity, and modernization. After living in exile in Italy for 29 years, the former king returned his homeland in 2002.
Zahir Shah ascended to the throne when he was only 19. During his rule, he opened up Afghanistan to Western contact, gave women the vote, and founded the country's first modern university. He was deposed by his cousin while in Italy receiving medical treatment. Many Afghans still regard him as the "father of the nation."