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date: 28 January 2020

Zāhir, Ahmadlocked

  • Abdul-Wahab Madadi
  •  and John Baily


(b Kabul, 1946; d Kabul, 1979). Afghan singer. He was the son of a prominent Afghan politician, Dr Abdul Zāhir, who was prime minister during the period 1971–2. Remarkably for someone from an upper-class Pashtun family, Dr Zāhir encouraged his son's interest in music. As a student at the Lycée Habībī Ahmad Zāhir was a member of a music group, with which he made his first recordings at Radio Afghanistan in 1961. He gained his baccalaureate and enrolled in a teachers' training programme, but then pursued his interest in music in earnest. He recorded music at Radio Afghanistan on a frequent and sometimes daily basis, and in his short career released about 30 cassettes of music, far more than any other singer. He had a charismatic personality which very much appealed to young people and he became exceptionally popular. During the communist era, while still in his early thirties, he was murdered in a politically motivated assassination. His funeral procession is remembered for its unprecedented size....

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