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    EX-KING OF AFGHANISTAN UNDERGOES MEDICAL TREATMENT IN UAE

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    ISLAMABAD, May 21 (RIA Novosti) - Ex-king of Afghanistan Mohammad Zahir Shah, 89, was brought to a hospital in the United Arab Emirates last Tuesday, the PPI agency quoted the king's spokesman as saying.

    According to him, the ex-king had nose bleeding caused by heat, however, his condition is stable as a whole.

    Zahir Shah is to go to France soon to cure his stomach disease, the Afgan Islamic Press agency reported.

    Zahir Shah goes abroad to receive medical treatment for the 5th time after his return to Afghanistan from Italy in 2002. He lived in Italy in emigration since 1973.

    In spring 2004 Zahir Shah underwent treatment in Delhi. After that, official Afghan representatives claimed that the ex-king had no health problems.

    Zahir Shah was Afghanistan's ruler for 40 years before a bloodless coup orchestrated by his cousin, Mohammad Daoud in 1973.

    The republican government was established in Afghanistan. Zahir Shah was forced to leave the country and lived with his family in Rome for 30 years.

    After the fall of the Taliban regime, the ex-king returned to his mother country. He holds no official posts except the honorary title of the Father of the Nation.

    Most Afghanis, especially, the elder generation, recollect the golden age of the king's rule with nostalgia when the country was gradually moving to progress.

    Many people still consider their former monarch the most influential political figure symbolizing the unity of the nation. They are convinced that Zahir Shah can unite Afghanistan's ethnic groups.

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