Darul Aman Palace (meaning “abode of peace”) is a European-style palace located about 16 kilometers from the center of Kabul. The palace was built during the 1920’s as part of the reformist King Amanullah Khan’s modernization drive.
It is an imposing neoclassical building on a small hilltop overlooking a flat, dusty valley in the south-western part of the Afghan capital. Intended as the seat for a future parliament outside of Kabul, the building was unused for many years after religious conservatives forced Amanullah from power and halted his reforms.
The palace was gutted by fire in 1969. It was restored, first to house the Kabul Museum and later the Defence Ministry during the 1970’s and 1980’s.
During the Communist coup of 1978, Darul Aman Palace was set on fire. It was destroyed again by heavy shelling as rival Mujahideen factions fought for control of Kabul during the early 1990’s, leaving the building the shell that you see here.
You can see the outlines of the once-luscious gardens in the foreground. The man standing on the edge of the circle, apparently the grounds keeper, lives under a tarp off to the left with his young son and daughter.