|Use||National flag and ensign |
|Design||The Shahada in black on a white field in the calligraphic Thuluth script|
|Use||National flag and ensign |
|Design||The Shahada in black on a white field, underneath which is "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" in Pashto, both written in calligraphic script|
The national flag of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Pashto: د افغانستان بیرغ; Dari: پرچم افغانستان), also used as the flag of the Taliban, consists of a white field with a black Shahada. It was adopted on 15 August 2021 with the victory of the Taliban in the 2001–2021 war. Since the Anglo-Afghan War of 1919, also known as the War of Independence, Afghanistan has used about 19 national flags, more than any other country in this period. The national flag had black, red and green colors most of the time during the period.
The tricolor flag of the internationally-recognized Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, which remains in use internationally and by resistance movements against the Taliban inside Afghanistan, has vertical black, red and green stripes. It has the national emblem in white at the center. The emblem, which is surrounded by sheaves of wheat, includes a Shahada; a Takbir; rays of sun; a mosque with a mihrab, minbar and two Afghan flags; the year 1298 (١۲۹٨) in the Solar Hijri calendar (i.e. Gregorian 1919); and an inscription stating Afghanistan (افغانستان). A similar flag with three vertical stripes of the same colors, which had an emblem surrounded by sheaves of wheat, was first flown by King Amanullah Khan in July 1928.
During the Afghan Independence Day rallies in Jalalabad and other cities on 18 and 19 August 2021, the Taliban killed three people and injured over a dozen others for removing Taliban flags and displaying the tricolor Afghan flags. On 11 September 2021, four days after reports of defeat of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF) in Panjshir, the Taliban hoisted their flag at the presidential palace in Kabul to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States. The Taliban has issued a decree requiring the use of the Islamic Emirate's flag in all official settings.
The current flag of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is a plain white flag with shahada in the centre printed in black. The white stands for “the (Islamic Movement of Taliban’s) purity of faith and government.” After 1997, a black shahada was incorporated which is the Islamic declaration of faith. The current flag is unusual from other jihadist groups like those of al-Qaeda or the Islamic State in that the main flag colour is white while the shahada is black, with most jihadist groups using an inverted version. It is likely that the current flag of the Islamic Emirate is inspired from the Umayyad Caliphate, which is when Islamists in the Indian subcontinent saw it as the beginning of the Ghazwa-e-Hind. It was during the 7th to 8th century under the Umayyad that Islam spread to Afghanistan. Through the 663 to 665 AD that Umayyad launched an invasion in to Afghanistan as corridor for the conquest of Transoxiana from 673 to 751 AD.
The black color represents its troubled 19th century history as a protected state, the red color represents the blood of those who fought for independence (specifically, the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919), and the green represents hope and prosperity for the future. Some have alternatively interpreted the black to represent history, the red to represent progress, and the green to represent either agricultural prosperity or Islam.
The tricolor was supposedly inspired by the Afghan King Amanullah Khan when visiting Europe with his wife in 1928. The original horizontal tricolor design was based on that of the flag of Germany.
Almost every Afghan tricolor flag since 1928 has had the Emblem of Afghanistan in the center. Almost every emblem has had a mosque in it, which first appeared in 1901, and wheat, first appearing in 1928.
The last tricolor flag took its current form in 2002 with modifications later on in 2004 and 2013, with some variants containing differing coloured emblems.
Following the restoration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan after the Fall of Kabul in 2021, protests took place in Jalalabad and other cities, where protesters were seen waving Afghan tricolor flags protesting its removal in defiance of Taliban rule, due to the reinstatement of the white Shahada flag and the abolishment of the former black, red, and green tricolor flag.
The tricolor flag was used by the Afghan delegation at the 2020 Summer Paralympics between 25 August and 5 September 2021, as well as at the 2021 Cricket T20 World Cup between 26 October and 4 November 2021, both after the fall of Kabul.
The color video approximations (valid for flags 1928–1978 and 1980–2021) are listed below:
|Flag||Years of use||Ratio||Government||Description|
|1709–1738||2:3||Kingdom of Afghanistan||Royal Standard of Afghanistan|
|1978–1980||1:2||Democratic Republic of Afghanistan||Flag of the Afghan army|
|2004–2013||2:3||Islamic Republic of Afghanistan||Standard of the President of Afghanistan|
|2013–2021||2:3||Islamic Republic of Afghanistan||Standard of the President of Afghanistan after 2013|
|2010–2021||2:3||Islamic Republic of Afghanistan||Flag of the Afghan Air Force|
|2001–2021||2:3||Islamic Republic of Afghanistan||Flag of the Afghan National Police until 2021|
|Flag||Years of use||Ratio||Government||Notes|
|1709–1738||2:3||Hotak dynasty||This flag was used by the Hotak dynasty.|
|1747–1818||2:3||Durrani Empire||The Durrani Empire did not use any official flag, and used many variation flags.|
|1818–1842[b]||2:3||Durrani Empire||Flag flown under the rule of Kamran Shah Durrani during his rule in Herat, not to be confused with Shah Shuja Durrani’s brief rule in Kabul during the First Anglo-Afghan War from 1839-1842.|
|1823–1880[c]||Emirate of Afghanistan||Prior to 1880, the Barakzai dynasty did not use the flag associated with the Durranis, or any official alternative, using many variations, yet no official flag.|
|1880–1901||2:3||Emirate of Afghanistan||This flag was flown under the rule of Abdul Rahman Khan.|
|1901–1919||3:5||Emirate of Afghanistan||State and war flag flown under the rule of Habibullah Khan. Habibullah added to his father's flag a seal that is the precursor of the modern-day seal, containing the mosque.|
|1919–1921||2:3||Emirate of Afghanistan||First flag flown under the rule of King Amanullah. He expanded upon his father's flag by adding rays emanating from the seal in the form of an octagram. This new style of seal was common in the Ottoman Empire.|
|1921–1926/29||2:3||Emirate of Afghanistan||An oval replaced the circle inscribing the mosque in 1921. In 1926, Amanullah was proclaimed King and changed the national flag by modernizing the arms.|
|1926–1928||2:3||Kingdom of Afghanistan||Second flag flown under the rule of King Amanullah. He replaced the octagram with a wreath and slightly modified the national seal. This mosque design in this seal would be adopted for most of Afghanistan's flags in the future. The mosque has a mihrab facing Mecca.|
|1928||3:5||Kingdom of Afghanistan||Third flag flown under the rule of King Amanullah, introduced c. June 1928. The black, red, and green tricolor, respectively representing the past (previous flags), the bloodshed for independence (Third Anglo-Afghan War), and hope for the future, was probably influenced by the King's visit to Europe and especially the Weimar Republic (which at that time had a black-red-gold flag) in 1927.|
|1928–1929||2:3||Kingdom of Afghanistan||Fourth flag flown under the rule of King Amanullah, introduced c. July 1928. It was the first vertical-tricolored flag which would be used throughout most of the remainder of the 20th century and in the present day. The new seal shows the sun rising over two snow-capped mountains, representing a new beginning for the kingdom. This seal also contained heaps of wheat, an icon that would be present on all future emblems of Afghanistan throughout different regimes. Notably, only the Soviet emblem had wheat at the time, and would in the future appear on many communist states' flags.|
|2:3||A variant of the above flag with long thick sun rays, similar to the Japanese Rising Sun Flag, as well as a centered yellow star.|
|1929||2:3||Kingdom of Afghanistan||A short-lived flag flown from January to October 1929.|
|1929||2:3||Kingdom of Afghanistan||This flag (same as the original 1919 flag) was reported to be flown under the short-lived rule of Inayatullah Khan.|
|1929||2:3||Emirate of Afghanistan (1929)||Flag flown under the brief rule of Habibullah Kalakani – a red, black, and white vertical tricolor, like the ones used by the Mongols during their occupation of Afghanistan in the 13th century.|
|1929||2:3||Emirate of Afghanistan (1929)||During the rebellion of Kalakani, a similar flag was used in Herat in the rebellion of the Tajiks.|
|1929||2:3||Kingdom of Afghanistan||Transitional flag used by Ali Ahmad Khan's short-lived rival government in Jalalabad, in opposition to the Kalakani rebellion.|
|1929 – 27 March 1930||2:3||Kingdom of Afghanistan||First flag flown under the rule of Nader Shah. The black, red, and green tricolor was re-established; the octogram seal borrowed from the first flag of King Amanullah replaced the sun and mountains seal, but the black-red-green vertical design was restored.|
|27 March 1930 – 16 July 1973||2:3||Kingdom of Afghanistan||Second flag flown under the rule of Nader Shah, it was also used by his son, Zahir Shah. The octagram rays were removed, and the seal enlarged – the mosque design is the same as introduced in the 1926 flag. In between the mosque and the seal is the year ١٣٤٨ (1348 of the lunar Islamic calendar, or 1929 AD of the Gregorian calendar), the year Mohammed Nadir Shah's dynasty began.|
|17 July 1973 – 8 May 1974||2:3||Republic of Afghanistan||First flag flown for the Republic of Afghanistan. It is identical to the previous flag, except that the year ١٣٤٨ was removed as Zahir Shah's monarchy ended.|
|9 May 1974 – 26 April 1978||2:3||Republic of Afghanistan||Second flag flown for the Republic of Afghanistan. The same colors were used, but the meanings reinterpreted: black for the obscure past, red for blood shed for independence, and green for prosperity from agriculture. In the canton is a new seal, with a golden eagle with spread wings, a pulpit (minbar) on the eagle's chest (for a mosque), wheat surrounding the eagle, and the sun's rays above the eagle (for the new republic).|
|27 April 1978 – 18 October 1978||2:3||Democratic Republic of Afghanistan||When the republic's president Mohammad Daoud Khan was killed in a coup, the new regime under the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) established a communist state. For a brief period of time, during the transition, the same flag design was kept, but no seal. A similar flag was used by the Junbish-e Milli party which controlled autonomous northern Afghanistan from 1992 to 1998.|
|19 October 1978 – 21 April 1980||1:2||Democratic Republic of Afghanistan||A radical change, this flag used a red field with a yellow seal in the canton, a common design for socialist states in the 20th century. It consisted of the PDPA's Khalq faction's emblem with wheat, a star at the top (representing the five ethnic groups of the nation), the term 'Khalq' in Arabic script in the center, and a subtitle reading 'Saur Revolution ١٣٥٧' and the full name of the state.|
|1980||1:2||Democratic Republic of Afghanistan||After the overthrow of the Khalq faction by the Parcham faction during the Soviet invasion, the flag of the People's Democratic Party, featuring a cogwheel representing industry and an ear of wheat to represent agriculture, was additionally used as a national flag.|
|22 April 1980 – 29 November 1987||1:2||Democratic Republic of Afghanistan||Under the Fundamental Principles program of the new leadership under Babrak Karmal, the traditional black, red, and green tricolor was re-established, representing the past, blood shed for independence, and the Islamic faith, respectively. A new seal was designed, with a rising sun (a reference to the former name, Khorasan, meaning "Land of the Rising Sun"), a pulpit and a book (considered to be the Communist Manifesto or the Capital by Karl Marx), ribbons with the national colors, a cogwheel for industry, and a red star for communism. The seal's ribbons and wheat has similarities to the then-East German and Romanian seals.|
|30 November 1987 – 26 April 1992||1:2||Republic of Afghanistan||The flag was changed as part of Mohammad Najibullah's National Reconciliation constitution changes. Same as the previous flag, except that in the national seal, the cogwheel is moved from the top to the bottom, the red star and the book are removed, and the green field curved to resemble the horizon.|
|27 April 1992 − 6 December 1992||1:2||Islamic State of Afghanistan||This flag was used as a provisional flag after the fall of the Najibullah pro-Soviet regime. It appeared in many variants of which one is shown here. The upper stripe contains the Takbir, whereas the center stripe (now white, with the red entirely removed from the flag) contains the Shahada.|
|1:2||This flag was used as another provisional flag after the fall of the Najibullah pro-Soviet regime.|
|7 December 1992 – 27 September 1996; 27 September 1996 – 27 January 2002 (Northern Alliance)||1:2||Islamic State of Afghanistan||The new Islamic government under Rabbani featured a flag change. The color scheme is similar to several Middle Eastern Muslim nations' flags. The emblem is the same as the monarchy-era emblem, but with the addition of the Shahada and swords representing the mujahideen's victory. It now shows the year ١۲۹٨ (1298), the solar Islamic calendar equivalent of AD 1919 of the Gregorian Calendar, the year of full independence. On the bottom part of the emblem was written "دا افغانستان اسلامی دولت", Islamic State of Afghanistan.|
|27 September 1996 – 1997||No standard ratio||Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan||A plain white banner was used by the Taliban.|
|1997 – 13 November 2001||1:2||Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan||In 1997, the Taliban introduced the Shahada in black on a white flag as the national flag of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.|
|1:2||A variant flag flown by the Taliban|
|13 November 2001 – 27 January 2002||1:2||Islamic State of Afghanistan||This flag was used by President Rabbani along with the national flag after the fall of the Taliban government. Same as the 1992 flag, but with Pashto and Dari texts.|
|28 January 2002 – 27 June 2002||1:2||Transitional Administration||After the fall of the Taliban, the traditional black, red and green colors were restored and in a vertical pattern, just as the ones flown from 1928 to 1974. The center emblem is the classical emblem of Afghanistan – it is the same version as used in the 1992 flag, but with the swords removed.|
|27 June 2002 – 9 October 2004||1:2||Transitional Administration||The Loya Jirga of spring 2002 voted the Afghan national flag with some changes including the Coat of Arms being gold instead of white, the year now dating "1380" under the mosque instead of "1348". In June 2002, Afghanistan officially changed its national flag from a white coat of arms in the center of the flag to a gold coat of arms which symbolizes the colour of a wheat wreath.|
|9 October 2004 – 15 August 2021||2:3||Islamic Republic of Afghanistan[d]||After the New National Constitution of 2004 was approved, a new 2:3 Ratio with vertical national tri-colour Flag was flown, Under the rule of Hamid Karzai. There was no fixed Flag and all Afghan Flags were simply a similarity to this variant. Only until 19 August 2013 a fixed Flag was flown.|
|2:3||This flag incorporates the tweaked national emblem with a larger ribbon and which overlaps into the black and green bars instead of being completely contained in the red bar.|
|2:3||A variant of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan flag with a colored emblem instead of white|
|15 August 2021 – present||1:2||Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan[a]||In 2021, the Taliban re-introduced the flag of the Islamic Emirate.|
|1:2||A variant of the Shahada on a white flag with "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" in Pashto written below the Shahada; a Dari Persian version of the flag has also been observed, although less frequently.|
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the Afghan Taliban used a plain white flag between 1996 and 1997 and a white flag with the Islamic credo in black letters from 1997 on until today.