Monday, April 3, 2017

The ruins of Darul Aman Palace of Afghanistan

King Amanullah Khan of Afghanistan (1919 - 1926) was known as a reformer and modernizer of the middle eastern country. During the last years of his reign he envisioned a new capital city, Durul Aman, that would be built about 10 miles (16 kilometers) outside Kabul, and connected with it by railway. 

Darul Aman Palace, that would be used as a future parliament, an imposing neoclassical building, was one of the first to be built on a hilltop, overlooking a flat, dusty valley in the west of Kabul. The palace, however, was left unused for many years after religious conservatives forced Amanullah from power and halted his reforms. 

The palace was gutted by fire in 1969 but was restored and became Afghanistan's Defense Ministry, until it was set on fire again during the Communist coup of 1978. The worst though came during the early 1990's when Mujahideen factions fought for control of Kabul after the end of the Soviet invasion. Heavy shelling by the Mujahideen left the building a gutted ruin. 

After the US led invasion of Afghanistan in 2003, there were plans for restoration of Darul Aman Palace in order to house the country's parliament however no work ever took place. In 2015, a new parliament building was built by the Indian government opposite to Darul Aman Palace.

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