PM first foreign leader to stay at Zahir Shahs residence

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Kabul: In an unprecedented gesture, the residence of Afghanistan`s last king Zahir Shah was opened up here for the stay of visiting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

This is for the first time the home of Zahir Shah — known as the Haramsarai — has been thrown open for a visiting head of government.

The presidential palace, known as the `The Arg`, houses the president`s office, his residence, and the office of the Afghan National Security Adviser.

The same complex also houses the home of Afghanistan`s last king Zahir Shah, where Prime Minister Singh is staying.

Sources said it is an unprecedented gesture as so far no visiting head of government has stayed at the palace where Shah lived and died in 2007.

Some family members of the late Shah still stay in the palace and they said they were happy to host the Prime Minister during his two-day visit.

The presidential palace complex has been used by all Afghan presidents in the past, except Mullah Umar.

The Arg, Turkish word for citadel, was built in 1883 by Afghanistan`s Amir Andur Rahman. The palace buildings were further expanded by Zahir Shah.

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