#Military Mondays – Tajbeg Palace

Tajbeg Palace, also known as The Queens Palace, is one of the places I drove by frequently while deployed in Afghanistan.

The Palace was built in the 1920s and is located about ten miles (16 km) outside of the center of Kabul, Afghanistan. The stately mansion sits atop a knoll among foothills where the Afghan royal family once hunted and picnicked. It should not be confused with Darul Aman Palace, which is about 0.8 miles (1.3 km) northeast from Tajbeg.

Built during the era of Amānullāh Khān, this palace was home of the royal family. European architects were hired by the royal court to build of a new city quarter called “Darulaman”, of which the Taj-Beg palace is one of the most impressive landmarks.

On December 27, 1979, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) launched its intervention in Afghanistan. That evening, the Soviet military launched Operation Storm-333, in which some 700 troops, including 54 KGB spetsnaz special forces troops from the Alpha Group and Zenith Group, stormed the Palace and killed President Hafizullah Amin, who resided there.

During the Soviet war in Afghanistan it served as the headquarters of the Soviet 40th Army. The palace has been severely damaged due to the quarter century of violence that has gripped the country.

The Afghan government, in conjunction with the German government, has drafted plans of renovating the palace for official use. The plan requires funds from private donations from wealthy Afghans. There are similar plans for Darul Aman palace, which is close by, to be rebuilt and used as the building for the Parliament of Afghanistan.

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