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Historical Flags (Afghanistan)

Last modified: 2022-01-08 by ian macdonald
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Afghanistan has been deemed the winner of "the most frequent flag changes in the twentieth century" contest:

  • 1881-1901, Emirate of Afghanistan
  • 1901-1919 Black field with central white emblem of mosque, flags and wreath.
  • 1919-1928 Same, except central emblem surrounded by eight pointed sunburst.
  • 1928-Sep.1928 Similar to 1901.
  • Sep.1928-Jan.1929 Vertical black, red, green. Central white emblem of mountains, sun, wreath, topped by a star.
  • Jan.1929-Oct.1929 Similar to 1919-1928.
  • Oct.1929-1930 Same three-striped field, but using earlier emblem surrounded by sunburst.
  • 1930-1973 Same three-striped field, central white emblem of mosque, flags, and wreath.
  • 1973-1974 Same as the previous one, without the date in the emblem.
  • May 1974-Apr.1978 Horizontal field, lower half green, upper half is black over red. Emblem in upper hoist of eagle, pulpit, wreath, sunburst.
  • Apr.1978-Oct.1978 Same as previous, no emblem.
  • Oct.1978-Apr.1980 Red Field with gold emblem in upper hoist consisting of script characters (I believe it says Flag Party) wreath, and star.
  • Apr.1980-Nov.1987 Three equal horizontal stripes of black over red over green. Multicolor emblem in upper hoist of pulpit, book, wreath, sunburst, topped by cogwheel and red star.
  • Nov.1987-Apr.1992 Same as previous, but emblem lacks book and red star. Also the cogwheel was relocated to the bottom and the green "horizon" below the sunburst is now curved.
  • Apr.1992-Dec.1992 Three equal horizontal stripes of green, white, black with white text on green stripe and black text on white stripe.
  • Dec.1992- September 1996 Same three stripes, but golden emblem centered on the flag.
  • September 1996 - November 2001 White flag, at times with the Shahada in black
  • January 2002 - January 2004 Black-red-green vertical stripes, with coat of arms on red stripe, date on flag 1348.
  • Since January 2004 Black-red-green vertical stripes, with coat of arms on red stripe, date on flag 1298.

Nick Artimovich, 19 March 1996, augmented by editor.

This is just a brief overview of administrative history and of the system of administrative-territorial divisions and local governance.

Although name Afghanistan was in use for at least two centuries before independence, there were four Emirates that were fighting for supremacy and uniting the territories of today country. Since 1839 British held an Agent or Resident as the representative of the Government for the region, up until 1919. The four Emirates - Kabul, Herat, Kandahar and Ghazni with their tributary states and dependencies were finally united under the supremacy of the Emir of Kabul Abdur Rahman Khan in October 1881 as Emirate of Afghanistan. From 1881 until 1919 Afghanistan was under British Control (nominally under Government of India) and formal independence was proclaimed on 13.04.1919.

The administrative-territorial structure at the beginning was consisting of the former emirates and their sub-states and dependencies. Somewhere in 1910's that was transformed in the system of provinces, but with different status. It is known that in 1929 there were 5 major - Kabul or Central Province, Kandahar, Herat, Turkestan, and Kataghan-Badakhshan, and 4 minor provinces - Eastern Province, Southern Province, Farah, and Maimanah. The real reform was taken in 1963/64 when all provinces became of equal status and many new provinces were created. The process of creating provinces last in 1990's, and now Afghanistan has 34 provinces. The provinces are divided in districts, which are lesser-tier of the administrative-territorial structure of the country. The process of creating districts is still going on and in 2015 there were 421 districts.

Afghanistan also has municipalities, but they are not part of the administrative-territorial structure. They are autonomous statutory bodies, creating to provide services for the urban settlements. There are 201 municipalities (as of 2017) of 4 categories. There is one municipality of special case - Kabul, four municipalities of first class - Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar, and Mazar-e Sharif, 8 municipalities of second class - Farah, Ghazni, Khost, Kunduz, Lashkargah, Pul-e Khumri, Talaqan, and Zaranj, and 188 municipalities of third class.
Valentin Poposki. 1 September 2020