King Zahir Shah visits the U.S. space program
and learns about the Saturn launch vehicle.

L to R: Major General Leighton I. Davis; the King; Dr. Kurt Debus, NASA Director;
John M. Steeves, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan; Abdullah Malikyar, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
Cape Canaveral, Florida, 1963

The King, like many Afghans in the 1960s, was extremely interested in the American space program and sent telegrams to President Kennedy complimenting him on the early Project Mercury flights. Six years later, people in Kabul celebrated when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. U.S. Ambassador Robert G. Neumann wrote to the State Department, “Virtually no Afghan has seen an American without effusively and sincerely congratulating him on this unprecedented feat.”

Courtesy of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Washington, D.C.

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