In Pictures: Darul Aman Palace - the silent but powerful witness to Afghanistan’s turbulent history

Darul Aman Palace, which translates into ‘abode of peace’, is a European-style picturesque fort in Kabul, which was destroyed by warring parties during the civil war in 1990s.

The majestic palace, now lying in ruins, has been a silent but powerful witness to the turbulent history of Afghanistan, starting from the invasion of Soviet forces, followed by brutal Taliban rule.

The palace, built in early 1920s on a small hilltop in western Kabul by the then King Amanullah Khan, was intended to be the future parliament of Afghanistan.

King Amanullah, who famously defeated the Britishers in 1918, built this palace as a symbol of modern, progressive and independent Afghanistan.

The imposing palace was gutted in fire in 1969, and was restored by Ministry of Defense in the following decades. It was damaged again in early 1990s during the civil war. 

Following the fall of communist regime in early 1990s, the palace was seized by militants. The front walls are still riddled with bullet marks and a graffiti that reads “Death to the infidels”.

Despite the ferocious attacks, the imposing walls of the palace still stand tall. The staircases are made of high-quality marble and walls bear the names of visitors. 

In 2005, during the Karzai government, a plan was envisaged to renovate the palace as the new parliament. But, even nine years after, no steps have been taken for its renovation or restoration.

In April 2012, the palace was among the targets when armed insurgents launched a flurry of coordinated attacks on many important government installations in Kabul.

Today, the palace is lying in a dilapidated condition, occupied by drug addicts. On any regular day, a posse of drug addicts can be seen inside the palace.

From the ruins of the palace, the panoramic view of the Kabul city is truly endearing. The road leading to the palace and townships in the vicinity present a beautiful look.

In the vicinity of Darul Aman Palace stands another marvelous structure called Tajbeg palace, which served as the residence of King Amanullah and his family, named after his wife Queen Soraya.

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