The Afghan flag has three equal vertical bands of black, red, and green with the national emblem at the center. The emblem has an Arabic writing, “Shahadah” on top of a mosque that has a mihrab at the entrance and a pulpit. Two Afghan flags stand on the sides of the Mosque and on the lower side is the name Afghanistan. Two wheat sheaves wrap around the mosque and underneath them is the Hijri year 1298 (an equivalent of 1919 in the Gregorian calendar). The height to length ratio is 2:3, officially three feet by five feet. Afghans adopted this flag in 2013.

Black symbolizes Afghanistan’s dark past under different foreign rules while red stands for the people’s blood that was shed during the scramble for independence and self-rule. Green stands for the people of Afghanistan’s hope for a good future. It is a common belief that green was a favorite color for prophet Muhammed and his daughter. The Quran also mentions green several times and relates the color to paradise.

Afghanistan breaks the record as the country who has changed their flag the most, with a total of twenty times. The current flag is a product of suggestions and additions from the previous flags as the country sought to find the correct colors, symbols, and emblem that best represented the past, present, and the future aspirations of this nation.

Between 1880 and 1926, Afghanistan had four flags, the first one being all black and the other three being black with different emblems. In 1928, the flag had horizontal black-red-green bands with an emblem in the middle. By 1929, the bands were vertical and had a different emblem at the center. By the mid-1929, the white color replaced the green on the vertical bands and had no emblem. From the end of 1929 to 1974 they re-introduced green but the three flags during this period had different emblems. From mid-1974, the flag adopted horizontal bars where black and red were of the same size and occupied half the flag while the green occupied the other half with a gold emblem on the top left corner which the Afghans removed in 1978 and the flag remained with the 1974 colors and sizes. Between 1978 and 1980, the flag was pure red with a different emblem on the top left corner. Between 1980 and 1992, the two flags re-introduced the equal horizontal black, red, and green bands but with different emblems. As Afghanistan became an Islamic state in 1992 and eventually under the Taliban’s control, the flag evolved from horizontal green, white, and black bands with different emblems to pure white with the Shahadah inscription. From 2002 to 2013, the black-red-green bands were reintroduced with different emblems.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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