A pair of skulls and other bones were discovered during construction work in the kitchen in one of the palaces of the presidential compound, an oasis of calm cut off from the choking traffic of Kabul by blast walls and a maze of pristine gardens.

Their identities, including gender, as well as the cause of the deaths were not immediately known, but a commission has been set up by President Ashraf Ghani to investigate.

"The president has tasked a commission of forensic experts and representatives of Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission to examine the bodies and prepare them for proper burial in accordance with Islamic rites," a statement said.

That quest could prove difficult given the fact that Afghanistan has been in a near-permanent state of war for the past 35 years.


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