The National flag of Afghanistan is designed with great elegance and decent color combination. This flag features three colors band which are red, black, and green. There were almost 25 flags of the country after the establishment of Hotak dynasty.

The Afghan flag is basically a vertically stripped tricolor national flag. The width-to-length ratio of this flag is 1:2. The flag was changed 30 times in 102 years. The internationally recognized tricolor flag has a national emblem centered in white color.

History Of Afghanistan Flag

The Taliban group wanted to modify the National flag of Afghanistan according to their requirements. This group intended to introduce the idea of white banner bearing the Shahada. The changes made in the Afghan flag triggered protests in at least two Afghan cities. Three people was killed as a result of this protest in the city of Jalalabad. The protestors tried to place the government flag on the crowded street’s pedestrian bridge after replacing it with the Taliban flag. The Afghan flag has been changed 18 times over the past 100 years.

The Flag of Afghanistan (1901-1929):

During the years 1901-1919, the state of Afghanistan was ruled by a British protectorate, Habibullah Khan. He replaced his father’s solid black flag with a seal showing a mosque. The mosque was shown above two crossed swords encircled by a wreath. The depiction of mosque on the flag is responsible for making it sacred. The mosque helps to enlighten the religion of Islam. That is why this Islamic country chose to inscribe the picture of mosque on the flag.

In the year 1921, the country became fully independent from Britain. Amanullah Khan ruled the country in this year. The mosque and crossed swords are both considered as recurring symbols. In the reign of Amanullah Khan, the wreath was replaced with a radiating octagram. In 1926, the flag was modified by including an emblem. A wreath replaced the octagram and the swords were removed. In this flag, the mosque highlighted the Mehrab facing Mecca. Amanullah Khan has made a lot of changes during his reign. 

Changes made in Afghan flag from 1929-1973:

In the year 1929, Amanullah Khan handed over the government to Habibullah Kalakani. In the 13th century, the flag was modified to a tricolor combination. Mohammad Nadir Shah led a tribal revolt in the year of 1929. The tricolor flag in this era represented the state of Afghanistan. Thus, red color basically shows the blood shed for freedom. Green color shows prosperity while the black color depicts the past. The versatile color palette and unique design of the flag makes it an emerging power. The son of Nadir Shah became the king after the assassination of his father. Muhammad Zahir kept his father’s last flag with a slight changes in the seal. The mosque in the flag was surrounded by sheaves of wheat. The cousin of Muhammad Zahir overthrew him in a military coup. Muhammad Daoud Khan made Afghanistan a republic under him. The flag stayed mostly the same for almost a year. Slight changes are made to make the flag more attractive.

Afghan flag modification (1974-1980):

In 1974, the color combination remained the same but the orientation of colors were changed. The flag of this era consisted of an eagle in the corner. The eagle spread its wings to represent the mihrab on its chest. It was surrounded by the sheaves of wheat. Nur Muhammad Taraki became the President after Daoud. In the beginning, the seal was dropped from the flag. After sometime, it was changed to a red flag with a seal in the corner. The word Khalq was encircled by wheat and a ribbon. The meaning of this word is people and the ribbon was meant for praising the coup. Although, the people are not satisfied with the rulers and the country became unstable.

Hafizullah Amin killed Taraki in September 1979 and took over the country. The communist regime was supported by the USSR in December. Babrak Karmal became the new President after the assassination of Taraki. In 1980, the flag and seal was changed and the new seal was the sun rising over a mihrab. The mihrab was shown on the green field with an open book. This new and incredible design has a positive impact on the mind of people.

Political war in 1980’s:

In 1986, Muhammad Najibullah became the President of the state. A force of about 90,000 fighters was grown against the government and the Soviets. The seal was again changed and cog was moved down. Moreover, the red star and book was also removed. In 1979, thousands of troops were sent into Afghanistan. These troops were sent by the Soviet Union. The troops immediately took military and political control of Kabul. The Afghan nation faced a lot of problems due to the invasion of Soviet Union. 

The Flag of Afghanistan from 1992-2002:

  • In April 1992, Ahmad Shah Massoud’s Mujahideen took Kabul. Burhanuddin Rabbani became the new President in the month of June.
  • The flag was again modified in the month of December. The color combination was same as that of the flags of many other Muslim countries.
  • The seal was a mosque, sword, and wheat which depicted the victory of Mujajideen. However, the Shahada was on the top of the flag.
  • The government of Rabbani was weakened by attempting a coup in January, 1994. The Taliban group appeared in the month of October and they promised peace.
  • The Taliban soon captured the Southwest and marched on Kabul. This group declared Afghanistan an Islamic Emirate. It changed the flag to solid white initially. After one year, the Shahada in black color was added to the flag. 

Political event of 1997:

  • In 1997, the leader of Al-Qaida returned to the country. Osama Bin Laden became close to Mullah Omar who was the leader of Taliban. Four commercial planes crashed into the World Trade Centre. 
  • The US blamed Al-Qaida and demanded the leader of this party. Kabul was captured by the Anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. Rabbani’s government was also involved in this activity. The flag of Rabbani’s reign and seal incorporated the Shahada in blue color. 
  • The Taliban implemented a long campaign against Western forces and Kabul government. In 2002, the flag reverts to the colors of the Zaher era.
  • The reign of Muhammad Zahir Shah is also known as Zaher era. This era is considered as the time when stable government was provided to the country.
  • The Emblem of 1992 with the swords was removed. The grand assembly of Afghanistan changed the color of the Emblem to gold. This variation was completed in the month of June

Variations in the design of Afghan flag (2004-2021):

After the disputed elections, Karzai became the new President in October 2004. After the elections, the country was regarded as an Islamic Republic with a resilient president. Karzai won another disputed election in 2009. A tweaked flag was unveiled in August 2013 when the Karzai’s rule ended. The large size of Emblem was not acceptable because it overlapped the black and green bands. Some additional details were also incorporated in the flag.

In September 2014, Ashraf Ghani became the new president. He was selected as a president after two rounds of voting in elections. He was bitterly disputed by his rival, Abdullah Abdullah. The whole situation was repeated in September 2019. A treaty for bringing peace was signed by US and Taliban after many years of war. In July 2021, U.S and NATO forces were withdrawn from the country. A power vacuum was left in this way that facilitated a Taliban advance. Ghani escaped from Afghanistan and the Taliban reintroduced the white banner.

Dimensions of Afghan flag:

Afghan flag is composed of three equal parts. The three parts consist of three colors which are red, black, and green. These colors are juxtaposed from left to right perpendicularly. The width of each color is equal to half of its length. The national emblem is located in the middle of the flag. 

Reported changes requirements in the appearance of flag:

The several variations found in the flag of Afghanistan are as follows:

  • The coat of arms is varied between gold, white and bronze colors.
  • The coat of arms may be missing.
  • The flags on the side of the mosque are specified as red-white-red. However, they can be white in some cases. 
  • The flags on the side of the mosque can also be black-red-green.
  • The flags are also colored as gold-red-gold with horizontal hatching.
  • The coat of arm may extend farther out of the red strip. However, it can be constrained within it in some cases.
  • The detail of the wreath leaves and field may change.
  • The temple can be represented either in a three dimensional format or displaying only the front face. 
  • The rising sun can be shown either between the Shahada script and the Takbir phrase.
  • The calligraphy of the text Afghanistan appear above the previous group of letters. 
  • The ratio of the flag can be 2:3 or longer. 

Color Of Afghanistan Flag

Color Type Black Red Solid Red Green Dark Green White
RGB 0/0/0 211/32/17 190/0/0 0/122/54 0/153/0 255/255/255
Hex #000000 #d32011 #be0000 #007a36 #009900 #FFFFF
CMYK 0/0/0/100 0/85/92/17 0/100/100/25 100/0/56/52 100/0/100/40 0/0/0/0

Symbolism of the Flag of Afghanistan

The symbolism of the flag plays a crucial role in understanding politics and society. It is considered as the most condensed and vivid expression of identity. The Afghan flag has a deep message in terms of the history of the country. The color combination used in the flag also gives information about the sacrifices made by the nation.

Traits and history of Afghanistan:

The interesting design of the Afghanistan flag has a powerful meaning in it. Its colors are the representatives of various traits and history of the country. The black color in the flags enlightens the past era.  This color symbolizes the troubled past of the nation. The era when Afghan nation faced a lot of troubles. Furthermore, the red color specifies the fighters who shed their blood for the sake of nation’s welfare and development.


The national emblem and mosque shows the religion Islam. Additionally, the green color in the flag also shows Islam and prosperity. The Shahada inscribed on the flag also shows the firm belief of the nation on the presence of Allah Almighty.

Mujahideen’s victory:

The Afghan flag consists of an emblem which symbolizes the victory of Mujahideen. This symbol is specified for the efforts of Mujahideen. This flag conveys a dense symbolism of present, past, and future. It shows the deep-rooted identity and cause. That is why people are deeply attached to the flag. The flag and insignia are considered as a source of depicting past events. Afghan believes that the nations are developed if they remember the sacrifices of their fighters. That is why they symbolizes the victory and struggles of the warriors in their flag. 

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Afghanistan Flag FAQS

Amanollah Khan designed the National Flag of Afghanistan.
Black, Red, and Green colors are used in the flag of Afghanistan.
The red color shows the blood shed for providing freedom to Afghanistan from foreign rulers. It specifically represents the sacrifices of those who fought in the British-Afghan war.
The black color symbolizes the dark period of the country. It shows the time when the country was occupied by foreign rulers.
The green color shows the religion of Islam. It also represents the new hope for the future.
The flag was changed 30 times in the 102 years of country independence.
The final version of the Afghan flag was introduced on 19 August 2013.
The National Emblem is in the middle of Afghan flag.
The National Emblem is the official symbol of Afghanistan.
The phrase is “There is no god but Allah and Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H) is the last prophet of Allah.
This holy phrase written on the flag is known as Shahada.
The phrase is written in Arabic language.
The words “Allah-u-Akbar” are written underneath the Shahada on Afghan flag.
The national insignia consists of an emblem and a pulpit in white color.
It mainly consists of a mosque, a Mehrab and the Shahada.
It shows the main religion of the country which is Islam.
Taliban group introduced a flag which has white background and Shahada is written in black color.
Taliban group used the flag with white background and black text when they were last in power. This group replaced the Tricolor Afghan flag with their flag between 1996 & 2001.
The wheat sheaves around the mosque show one of the main crop of Afghanistan.

Taliban took the control over the Capital of Afghanistan in 1998. It was done in the wake of U.S. forces departure. The Afghanistan government eventually collapsed after this event. The fight for flags started in Jalalabad after the advent of Taliban banner. The protestors flew the tri-color Afghani flag instead of Taliban banner. The conflict started here and three people were assassinated in this contradictory event.

The official flag of the nation is now considered a symbol of opposition against the Taliban. In the 102 years of the state independence, the flag were modified almost 30 times. The variations in the flag were seen 6 times in the year 1919. These frequent variations represent the society in flux with almost consistent instability. The diversity of Afghan society is also illustrated in this manner.

Flags basically focuses on the emotions of a people living in a specific society. The Afghan flag is designed by keeping in mind the unique color combination. The globally dominant red, white, and blue combination is not used here. In all Afghan flags, red color remained dominating. Solid red color was used in the flag during communist government. However, solid white color was chosen by Taliban. This color shows the purity of Taliban’s faith and government. The scripture Shahada is an Islamic oath. This oath is the first pillar of Islam found in the Holy Quran.

Blue color was used once in the flag of Afghanistan. The Shahada was written in blue color on the flag. This flag has a green strip on the top and it was introduced in the year 2001-2002. It consists of a white strip in the middle and a black band on the bottom of the flag. It also contains a yellow insignia encircled by crossed curved swords in the middle. Half blue text is found on the left side and the other half on the right side of the insignia on the white band.

Most of the flags used the three color schemes which are black, white, and green. The black color is for Abbasids, white for Ummayads, and green for Fatimids. This color combination is known as Pan-Arab color scheme. The tricolor flag was originated by a British soldier. The European tricolor shape was followed for distancing the Ottoman Empire.