In the ruins of Kabul’s Darul Aman Palace
The ruins of Darul Aman Palace are seen in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 2, 2016. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters)
With its collapsed roofs and bullet-strewn, crumbling walls, the derelict Darul Aman Palace has become a symbol of failed attempts to bring peace to war-torn Afghanistan.
The palace was built in the early 1920s as part of King Amanullah Khan’s endeavors to modernize Afghanistan. It was to be part of a new capital city that the king intended to build, connected to Kabul by a narrow gauge railway.
The palace is an imposing neoclassical building on a hilltop overlooking a flat, dusty valley in the western part of the Afghan capital. Intended as the seat of a future parliament, the building was left unused for many years after religious conservatives forced Amanullah from power and halted his reforms.
Darul Aman Palace was gutted by fire in 1969. It was restored to house the Defense Ministry during the 1970s and 1980s. In the Communist coup of 1978, the building was set on fire. It was damaged again as rival Mujahideen factions fought for control of Kabul in the early 1990s after the end of the Soviet invasion. Heavy shelling by the Mujahideen left the building a gutted ruin. (Reuters)
Photography by Omar Sobhani/Reuters