Ahmad Zahir died on 14 June 1979, supposedly in a car crash on the Salang Pass road. The cause of death was never fully established, although it was claimed the autopsy had revealed he had been shot in the head. If so, it is likely he was murdered on the orders of the communist government that he so publicly opposed.
Pul-e-Charkhi Prison lies 6km west of Kabul. It was commissioned by President Mohammed Daoud Khan but completed by the Soviet-controlled communist government. It became a notorious centre of torture and execution. A mass grave containing 2,000 bodies was recently discovered nearby.
The prison is still in use, and the US has transferred more than 250 detainees there from Guantanamo.