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Son of former Afghan king denies US plan to reinstall monarchy

The former Afghan king, Zaher Shah, was deposed in 1973


The son of the former king of Afghanistan, Mostapha Zaher, has denied the existence of an American plan to remove the ruling Taliban and reinstall Zaher Shah to the throne.

In an exclusive interview with swissinfo on Friday, Mostapha categorically denied the existence of any plan to return to monarch rule in Afghanistan.

"We have received no information which would indicate that the United States was preparing to intervene militarily inside Afghanistan to depose the Taliban government," Mostapha told swissinfo.

"There is absolutely no discussion under way with any body or authority concerning the reinstallation of King Zaher to power in Kabul," he added.

Mostapha was responding to reports which appeared in Britain's "Guardian" newspaper and to an interview with the Afghan opposition leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, published on Friday in the Swiss newspaper, "Le Temps".

Hekmatyar, currently in exile in Iran, told the paper that the United States had "contacted him" after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on September 11.

"They want a provisional government headed by the former king," Hekmatyar was quoted as saying.

But Mostapha, who acts as a special adviser to the former king, said his father would not return to Afghanistan "except by the express invitation of the Afghan people".

"The question of monarchy is a thing of yesterday," he said, "and we have such a catastrophe on our hands that we have to worry about the problems of today rather than the restoration of the monarchy."


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