Afghanistan History

By | January 9, 2023

Afghanistan – national flag

Afghanistan National Flag

In the period 1929-92, the flag of Afghanistan was divided into three parts with the colors black, red, green, from 1973 in horizontal stripes. The colors symbolized tradition, the blood of the holy martyrs, and Islam, respectively.

  • Countryaah: What does the flag of Afghanistan look like? Follow this link, then you will see the image in PNG format and flag meaning description about this country.

With the fall of the Communist regime in 1992, the flag was changed and was divided into green for Islam, white for peace and black for tradition. In the middle of the flag is seen the country’s coat of arms with the Islamic creed at the top: “There is no god without God and Muhammad is his prophet”.

  • AbbreviationFinder: Check three-letter abbreviation for each country in the world, such as AFG which represents the official name of Afghanistan.

In 2002, Afghanistan, which has had 18 different flags for the last 100 years, introduced a new national flag, which is very similar to the old one from 1929 under the kingdom. Before 1929, the flag was completely black with emblem; in 1929 the colors red and green were added, which were associated with the monarchy. The three colors are also all associated with Islam. The weapon in the middle shows a mosque as well as the inscription “There is no God without Allah and Muhammad is his prophet”. The flag must symbolize the unification of all Afghan peoples.

Afghanistan – history

According to a2zgov, Afghanistan has been a crossroads for a number of cultures for centuries. The country was part of the Persian Achaimenide Empire in 500-tfKr., Became in 300-tfKR. conquered by Alexander the Great and was in 100-tfKr. part of the Kushan Empire, whose Buddhist heritage is found in a number of archeological excavations in the country.

At the end of 600-teKr. Afghanistan was conquered by the Muslims and came as a vassal state under the Islamic-Arab caliphate. From 900-t. small independent Iranian-Afghan principalities replaced each other. In the period 977-1186, the area was part of the Ghaznavide Empire, and Mahmud of Ghazna, who ascended the throne in 998, subjugated the Punjab and led expeditions towards India. In 1150, Mahmud’s descendants were driven out by the Ghorids, and in 1175, Muhammad Ghor invaded India.

In 1219, Genghis Khan and the Mongols conquered Afghanistan. With the death of Genghis Khan in 1227, the empire was dissolved into local principalities until the end of the 15th century, when the Turkmen-Mongolian Timur Lenk conquered large parts of the country. During the Timurids (1404-1507), learning, art and architecture flourished, which still characterizes the then capital of Herat and other cities.

The Iranian Safavid Empire (see the Safavids) and the Indian Mughal Empire (see the Mughal Empire) competed for control of Afghanistan in the period approximately 1500-1747. With the collapse of these empires, a vacuum of power was created, which enabled an independent state to be established.

In 1747, Afghanistan was established as a tribal confederation led by Ahmad Khan from the Pashtun tribe of Abdali. Under the name Ahmad Shah Durrani, he consolidated his control of the country and united Afghanistan into one empire that stretched from eastern Iran to northern India.

After Ahmad Shah’s death in 1773, the Durrani empire disintegrated due to succession disputes, and Afghanistan’s geographical location as a buffer state between Russia and British India helped increase political instability. British colonial efforts to control the area and counter Russian influence resulted in three Anglo-Afghan wars (1839-42, 1878-80, 1919). Afghanistan remained a formally independent state, although the country’s foreign policy 1879-1919 was under British control.

Under Emir Abdur Rahman (1880-1901), Afghanistan was built as a centralized and modern state, and state power was strengthened in relation to the traditional power groups in the country, the tribal leaders and the religious leaders. At the same time, an internal colonization was carried out, in which hitherto independent territories in Central Afghanistan (Hazarajat) and Northeast Afghanistan (Nuristan) were conquered and subordinated to the central state.

Introduction of European technology, begun under Abdur Rahman, continued under his son Emir Habibullah Khan (1901-19). Western and Islamic modernist ideas spread at court, conveyed especially by Afghanistan’s first newspaper, Seraj ul-Akhbar(Torch of the News). In 1919, Habibullah Khan was assassinated and succeeded by his son, the reform-minded King Amanullah (1919-29). He wanted to transform the country into a modern nation-state following the European (and Turkish) model. A comprehensive reform policy was launched. It involved the formulation of Afghanistan’s First Constitution (1923), the expansion of the education system and the beginning of women’s liberation. Many traditional privileges were curtailed, and tribal and religious leaders declared reform policies to be contrary to Islam and an attempt to secularize society and the state. In 1928, civil war broke out, and in 1929, Amanullah had to seek exile in Italy.

After a brief period in which the Tajik rebel Bachao Saqqao ruled under the name Habibullah II, Nadir Shah, a relative of Amanullah, seized power, well aided by the country’s leading religious family, Mujaddidi of Shor Bazar.

A new constitution in 1931 consolidated the interests of the traditional power groups. Nadir Shah was assassinated in 1933 and succeeded as king by his son Zahir Shah (1933-73). This ushered in a period of relative stability in which Zahir Shah was mostly king by name, while his three uncles in turn ruled as prime ministers. Significant economic development took place with the expansion of infrastructure, the beginning of industrialization and with the modernization of the education system, while Afghanistan maintained its traditional neutrality. The creation of the state of Pakistan in 1947 led to tensions between the two countries over the affiliation of the border areas – these are inhabited by Afghanistan’s ethnic majority (Pashtuns).

With the introduction of parliamentarism and universal suffrage, the democratic constitution of 1964 met the demands of the new middle class for political influence, and the role of the monarch was significantly reduced. Free elections were held in 1965 and 1969, but the democratic experiment suffered from political instability, during which both radical left groups and radical Islamic groups agitated against the ruling social order.

The liberal period ended with a coup in 1973, after which Zahir Shah went into exile in Italy, and his cousin and former brother-in-law, former Prime Minister Daud Khan, seized power and abolished the monarchy. President Daud Khan’s coup was supported by parts of the left; it was later purged, and the religious opposition was suppressed. All banks were nationalized in 1975, and a comprehensive land reform was proclaimed without, however, having greater practical significance. Rebellion attempts, led by radical Islamic groups, failed in 1975 due to lack of popular support. In 1977, a new constitution was adopted, but as early as April 1978, the People’s Democratic Party (PDPA) staged a coup, in which President Daud Khan was assassinated and Muhammad Taraki came to power.

The new government proclaimed far-reaching reforms, a radical land reform, the abolition of mortgages and the abolition of the bride price. During 1978 and 1979, popular opposition to the PDPA regime grew and threatened its existence. The PDPA was divided by internal strife between the factions Parcham ‘Flag’ and Khalq ‘People’; these arose from personal and to some extent ethnic contradictions and only to a lesser extent from ideological differences. The internal power struggles led to the ouster and later assassination of Muhammad Taraki, the assassination of Hafizullah Amin (Khalq) in 1979, and the purge of the PDPA’s Parcham wing. Another internal coup followed in December 1979, with Parcham rehabilitated and Babrak Karmal(Parcham) took power in connection with a Soviet invasion, which was to consolidate the regime. Hafizullah Amin was killed.

Afghanistan War

In 1981, the strategically important Wakhan Corridor in the Pamir Mountains in NE Afghanistan was brought under direct control of the Soviet military headquarters in Tashkent, and the majority of its residents, mainly ethnic Kyrgyz, fled to Pakistan. By the demarcation of the border in 1873 and 1895-96, Wakhan had been assigned to Afghanistan as a political buffer between Russian Turkestan, British India and China. The Soviet Union and Afghanistan confirmed the demarcation by an agreement in 1981, over which China protested when the Soviet-Chinese demarcation in the area was the subject of strife. In the 1980’s, Wakhan was an important route for arms smuggling into the country.

From 1979, the resistance struggle against the PDPA regime was defined in religious terms as jihad ‘holy war’. It was led by a number of competing exile parties in Pakistan and Iran as well as by the internal resistance, led by local commanders and tribal leaders. In step with the intensified resistance against the Soviet invading forces, more than five million refugee refuge in neighboring Pakistan and Iran.

In recognition of the strength of the popular resistance, President Babrak Karmal was replaced in 1986 by Najibullah, followed by a series of futile attempts to strengthen the regime’s power base. The Soviet forces were withdrawn in February 1989, and in April 1992, President Najibullah resigned. Power was taken over by the Pakistan-based Sunni Islamic and Iran-based Shia Islamic exile parties in alliance with internal resistance groups, local militias and parts of the armed forces. Internal power struggles continued – especially among the leading Islamic parties, led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Burhanuddin Rabbani.

Upon President Najibullah’s voluntary resignation in 1992, a fragile compromise was formed between the seven Peshawar – based mujahedin parties and a number of commanders. The previous constitution was repealed and Afghanistan was declared an Islamic state. The coalition was unable to establish peace or to organize the transition to a representative form of government. Internal power struggles ensued, and an endless series of alliances, breaches of agreement, and armed struggle between the various military groupings followed. The different major mujahedin parties each had their own geographical area and different ethnic composition, but with the fall of the PDPA, a struggle for Kabul began, which lasted until the Taliban conquest of the city in 1996.

The period 1992-96 was marked by anarchy and administrative breakdown, physical destruction of the 1/3 of Kabul and thousands of civilians killed and hundreds of thousands of internal refugees. However, President Rabbani continued to be recognized abroad as the Afghan president, although he controlled an increasingly smaller part of the country.


The disillusionment of the population with the mujahedin leaders created the background for the Taliban of the religious student militia. The movement originated among Afghan refugees in Pakistan; in Afghanistan, the movement initially gained support in the southern Pashtun-dominated lands. The success of the Taliban has since led many mujahedin fighters to change sides, although the Pashtuns remained the dominant ethnic group. Their ranks were also supplemented by thousands of volunteers from religious schools in Pakistan and other Muslim countries. The Taliban emerged in September 1994; the stated goal was to mobilize popular support to end the civil war. In November, the movement announced its intention to conquer all of Afghanistan and called on all mujahedin groups to surrender or take the consequences.

In 1997, the Taliban attempted to conquer northern Afghanistan, which had so far been controlled by ethnic Uzbek and eastern Tajik mujahedin groups under Rashid Dostum, Rabbani and Ahmad Shah Masud. After several attempts, the Taliban finally conquered northern and central Afghanistan in the autumn of 1998. The only one of the former mujahedi commanders who now resisted the Taliban was Masud, who fought from his enclaves, among others. and Panjshir.

Afghanistan under the Taliban

In 1994, the Taliban had been welcomed by the people because they guaranteed peace and physical security. But with the conquest of major cities such as Herat, Kabul and Mazar-i Sharif, the Taliban’s extreme women’s and education policies and religious unification created both increased local reluctance and fierce international criticism. The “Islamization efforts” in the big cities in particular attracted a lot of attention: women were denied the right to work outside the home, girls’ schools were closed, and women were to be totally veiled and not allowed to travel in public without closely related male escorts. Men were banned from trimming their beards and wearing western hairstyles.

Islam’s general image ban was strictly enforced. In March 2001, with reference to Islam, the regime blew up the two colossal Buddha statues in the Bamiy Valley. It sparked fierce international protests and further isolated the Taliban. In May 2001, the Taliban ordered the country’s religious minorities to wear visible identification badges, allegedly for their own protection. The movement’s treatment of ethnic minorities was also brutal, and in both northern and central Afghanistan, the Taliban carried out massacres of civilians. The Shiite Hazaras, who make up an ethnic and religious minority in central Afghanistan, in particular, were abused.

From the beginning, the Taliban enjoyed considerable support from Pakistan. Initially, both the United States and Saudi Arabia were positive about the Taliban, and in 1997 Pakistan and Saudi Arabia recognized the regime, while most other countries continued to recognize Rabbani as president.

The fall of al-Qaeda and the Taliban

Since the Soviet occupation, Afghanistan had attracted many volunteers who fought on the side of the mujahideen in the war, especially radical Islamists from Pakistan and the Arab world, including Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden. The US suspicion that bin Laden’s organization, al-Qaeda, was behind several terrorist attacks against US targets, led in August 1998 to US bombings of suspected al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan and subsequently to very far-reaching international sanctions. These were further intensified in late 2000 at the same time as a famine catastrophe threatened the country as a result of three years of drought.

In January 2001, the UN Security Council condemned the Taliban regime as a center for international terrorism and demanded the extradition of bin Laden. The international isolation of the regime apparently did not contribute to a weakening of the regime, but to a continued radicalization, and the regime’s military dependence on al-Qaeda increased.

On September 9, 2001, members of al-Qaeda succeeded in killing Masud in an assassination attempt. With the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 (see September 11), for which the al-Qaeda network is held responsible, the pressure on the Taliban to extradite Osama bin Laden to prosecution increased, but to no avail. Subsequently, the United States and Britain launched a bombing campaign against Afghanistan to break the Taliban regime and destroy al-Qaeda. At the same time, extensive military support was channeled to the Northern Alliance. In November, Mazar-i Sharif was conquered by the Northern Alliance, and on 7/12 the Taliban finally abandoned their last bastion, Kandahar.

Afghanistan after the Taliban

At a meeting in Bonn in December 2001, the anti-Taliban coalition, made up of a selection of Afghan groups from home and abroad, agreed to appoint an interim government headed by Hamid Karzai. It was based on a complicated division of power among the various political and ethnic groupings. The Northern Alliance was the dominant member of the coalition, but among the 30 members were also Hazara groups, Pashtuns from the Eastern territories, royalists in exile and a total of two women. The Provisional Government took power on 22.12.2001 in connection with the resignation of President Burhanuddin Rabbani.

Since December 2001, there has been an extensive repatriation of refugees from both neighboring Iran and Pakistan as well as from the West. The international community promised Afghanistan extensive assistance for the reconstruction of the country. At the same time, special forces from a number of countries, including The United States, Canada, Britain and also Denmark, continue to engage in campaigns against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. In August 2003, NATO took command and coordination of the peacekeeping forces. Initially, the alliance operated only in the Kabul area, but has since extended its mission to the whole of Afghanistan.

In January 2004, a new constitution was adopted and Hamid Karzai was re-elected president with 55.4% of the vote in the October 2004 presidential election, which had a turnout of 70%, of which 41% were women. In September 2005, the first free parliamentary elections since 1969 were held, which elected 249 representatives to both the national parliament (of which 27% were women) and to the 34 provincial councils (28% women elected). Turnout was only 50%, but women’s turnout had risen to 43% of the vote.

However, the Taliban managed to regroup and recruit new members, and from mid-2006 there were fierce fighting in the southern part of the country, including Helmand Province, between NATO forces and the Taliban. In many places, the fighting delayed or prevented the country’s reconstruction. During 2007 and 2008, the security situation in the country deteriorated further. Large parts of southern Afghanistan were effectively controlled by the Taliban, the government was increasingly accused of incompetence and corruption, and doubts were raised as to whether it was at all possible for NATO forces to win the country militarily.

In 2012, the international force and the Afghan government agreed that all actual combat missions from mid-2013 should be left to the Afghan army, and the approximately 130,000 foreign soldiers should have left the country by the end of 2014. Careful steps were taken towards a peace agreement with the Taliban, when the militia agreed to negotiations and opened an office in Dubai to represent it.

As agreed, the Afghan army took over all combat tasks from the NATO forces in 2013 – thus also the Danish soldiers were pulled out of the insecure zones in the country – and subsequent negotiations between the Afghan government and the US must open up a future arrangement in the country.

In the 2009 presidential election, Hamid Kazai was re-elected for a new five-year term. The presidential election in the spring of 2014 had two leading candidates, the former Minister of Finance (2002-04) Ashraf Ghani and the former Minister of Foreign Affairs (2001-05) Abdullah Abdullah (b. 1960). None of them obtained the required 50% of the votes cast in the April election, and after the second round of elections in June, in which Ghani, according to the official census, won the election, allegations of manipulation of the vote arose. The result was only decided in September 2014, when Ashraf Ghani was appointed president, while Abdullah Abdullah was given a newly created post with powers as a prime minister.