For much of the 19th century Afghanistan was part of the power struggle between Britain, as the dominant power in India, and the Russian empire. While the country achieved independence after the First World War, tribal wars and banditry restricted economic and social development. Stability came in the period of Záhir Shah who ruled for 40 years. In 1964 he was able to overcome opposition and put through a constitution establishing parliamentary democracy. In 1973 there was a military coup led by his cousin and brother-in-law, and a former prime minister, Mohammed Daoud, who abolished the 1964 constitution and declared a republic. Záhir Shah abdicated on 24 Aug. 1973.
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