Afghanistan Celebrates 99th Day of Independence

Afghanistan's Independence Day is celebrated every year on August 19 to observe the Treaty of Rawalpindi which was signed in 1919 between Britain and Afghanistan. The treaty restored complete sovereignty to the country. “Jeshn”, Afghan Day or the Independence Day is occasion to celebrate the glorious past and national pride of the country. The day is a national holiday, and is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The presidential address to the nation, the military parade, display of the country's national costumes and national dance, atan, are some of the activities that mark the celebrations of the Independence Day. The period of Jeshn has also often has been used for major policy announcements.

Last year, in commemoration of the 98th Independence day of Afghanistan, President Ghani participated in an official ceremony at the Ministry of Defense where he laid a wreath at the Minaret of Independence. While attending an Independence Day ceremony in the Herat province, the President called the day as a national unity day. In Nangarhar province, officials and residents laid wreaths at the tomb of King Amanullah at Jalalabad.

History

Afghanistan was never formally a part of British Empire; however, given the British interest in the region, the two countries fought three Anglo-Afghan wars between 1839 and 1919. The British won the second Anglo-Afghan war, which was fought between 1878 and 1880. This victory gave the British the control over Afghanistan's foreign policy as well as many internal territories.

After the third Anglo-Afghan war, the Treaty of Rawalpindi or Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919 was signed. The treaty reaffirmed Durand Line, the international boundary between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Originally, this border was established in 1893, between the representatives of British India and Afghanistan to demarcate their spheres of influence.

The reaffirmation of this border led British to abandon their claims on Afghanistan, and allowed the nation to declare its complete independence. Today, the country celebrates this day to recognize this historic event.

What does the flag of Afghanistan represent?

The flag of Afghanistan, also known as the king's flag, was adopted on January 4, 2004. The flag is similar to the one flown during the administration of the monarchy in 1930-1973. The only difference between the two versions is the addition of Shahadah at the top of the coat-of-arms in the center.

Afghanistan's flag is composed of three equal sized vertical bars black, red, and green. In the center of the flag is the white coat of arms which depicts a mosque with its mihrab facing Mecca. Two sheaves of wheat encircle the emblem. The upper portion of this emblem has the Shahadah, which means "There is no God, but Allah and Mohammad is His prophet, and Allah is Great." In the lower part of the emblem the words Afghanistan and the year 1298 (solar calendar) are inscribed.

The red color of the flag represents the virtue of bravery and valor, and it also venerates the bloodshed and sacrifice to win freedom; green signifies hope, and prosperity; black symbolizes the era when the country was eclipsed by British control after the second Anglo-Afghan war.

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References:

  1. Amanat, H. (19 August 2017). Independence Day Celebrated Across Afghanistan. Retrieved from: https://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/independence-day-celebrated-across-afghanistan
  2. Maps of the World (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.mapsofworld.com/afghanistan/independence-day.html