Ahmad Zahir is widely considered one of Afghanistan's greatest popular musicians, if not the greatest. Born in Kabul on June 14 1946, to a well-to-do Pashtun family, Zahir’s father was the royal court doctor, as well as the Prime Minister of Afghanistan between 1971 and 1972. From a young age, Zahir was interested in music, forming bands with friends in Kabul, and playing around the city. He decided to pursue his higher education at the Teacher’s College in Kabul, until he realized that music was his true passion. He would compose original songs based on old Persian poetry. He recorded over 30 albums, but his career was brought to an abrupt halt, when he died on his 33th birthday in a car accident. There is some controversy around his death as many believed he was killed by the Communists, since his political views opposed the communist regime. He has one daughter and a son, who live outside of Afghanistan. His legacy lives on, with people calling Zahir the ‘Afghan Elvis’. His songs are still listened to by Afghans both young and old.
by S. Ghilzai / Published on July 15, 2015