Afghanistan before becoming a war-torn region we recognise today
In 1953, Zahir Shah's first cousin, the 43-year-old Muhammad Daoud Khan became prime minister. Daoud sought to root out graft in the huge Hilmand scheme, speed up reforms, but he remained a firm opponent of the liberalization in Afghan society. Seeking to recalibrate Afghanistan's neutrality, Daoud sought closer relations with the Soviet Union.(7) However, neutrality in the Cold War was a fleeting phenomenon.