Concept

Paghman

Résumé
Paghman (Persian/Pashto: پغمان) is a town in the hills near Afghanistan's capital of Kabul. It is the seat of the Paghman District (in the western part of Kabul Province) which has a population of about 120,000 (2002 official UNHCR est.), mainly Tajiks and Pashtuns. The gardens of Paghman are a major tourist attraction, and why the city is also known as the garden capital of Afghanistan. After King Amanullah Khan and Queen Soraya Tarzi's return from Europe in 1928, Amanullah brought in foreign experts to redesign Kabul. At that time, at the entrance of Paghman, they created a European-style monumental gate similar to but smaller than the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, called the Taq-e Zafar (طاق ظفر Arch of Victory). Originally a small village at the bottom of the Hindu Kush, Paghman turned into a holiday retreat with villas and chalets as well as the summer capital. Its wide avenues contained fir, poplar and nut trees which flew past the arch, villas and a golf course. It was a popular place for the wealthy and the aristocrats to visit. The new royal gardens were opened to the public under the proviso—as a matter of reform—that western dress was adopted there, as in the royal residential areas of nearby Kabul. On September 1, 1928, King Amanullah convoked the Loya Jirga to Paghman to the puzzlement of many delegates, who found themselves at odds with the dress-code. On September 7, 1928, the Hazrat of Shor Bazaar—an influential political figure in Kabul—presented the king with a petition signed by some 400 religious leaders opposing many of Amanullah's reforms. This action led to the arrest of the Hazrat, the execution of some of his followers and finally the rebellion of 1929 led by Ameer Habibullah Kalakani, that overthrew the king. The gardens eventually became a popular place for local and foreign tourists. Wealthy Kabulites owned summer homes there who employed servants and maids. During the Soviet–Afghan War in the 1980s, Paghman was a major battleground and it suffered from bombardment from both the Soviet-backed government and the mujahideen rebels.
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