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Afghanistan 1931-1973

Last modified: 2023-06-24 by ian macdonald
Keywords: afghanistan | mosque (white) | mihrab (white) | minbar (white) | pulpit (white) | flags: 2 (white) | nadeer shah |
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[Afghanistan 1930-1973]


 2:3 or 1:2?
image by Željko Heimer, 22 November 2004

Flag adopted 31st October 1931.  Date on flag 1348 (1929 C.E.)

Source: Flaggenbuch (1939) include two Afghan flags, the royal standard and the national flag, shown with sinister hoist.
Željko Heimer, 22 November 2004

See also:


The 1963 Constitution describes the flag of 1931-1973 thus:

Article 4
The flag of Afghanistan is tricolor (black, red and green) all pieces joined together vertically from left to right in equal proportions; the breadth of each strip equalling half of its length, having in the middle the insignia of the mehrab (an arch in a mosque where the praying congregation stands, facing the Kaaba in Mecca) and the mender (a many tiered pulpit placed to the right of the mehrab in a mosque, from which addresses are delivered) in white, flanked by two flags and ensconced in two sheaves of wheat.
The entire constitution can be read at the Afghan Website.
Devereaux Cannon, 8 December 2001

I wonder why the 1963 Constitutional description does not mention the date in Arabic numerals below the mihrab. This was supposed to have been removed only in 1973, so the 1963 description should include it. Perhaps the above text includes post-1963 amendments, one of them a 1973 one relating to flag changes? On the other hand, the description doesn't mention the ribbon with Arabic inscription (shahada) either, so may be the legislator simply forgot a couple of details...

The date in Arabic numerals was actually 1348 —solar Islamic calendar equivalent of 1929 AD— the year Zahir Shah's dynasty came to power. Please note that solar Islamic year is a different calendar from Arab lunar Islamic, as discussed here.
Santiago Dotor, 30 January 2002

According to Baert 2001, the 1931 Constitution prescribed new flag and arms. The vertical triband was maintained in its original colours as a reference to Islamic tradition and national history — the use of the Pan-Arab colours is a pure coincidence. On the arms, the mosque was surrounded by a wreath of wheat linked by a scroll bearing the name Afghanistan in Arabic lettering. The date 1348 (1929 in the Western calendar), in Persian, was added below the mosque as the year of accession of Nadir Shah to the throne.

The wreath of wheat symbolized agriculture but also recalled how the Durani tribe got the power in 1747. After the murder of the Persian king Nadir Shah, the leaders of the Pashtun tribes met to decide of the future of the country. During the meeting, a dervish showed up and placed a wreath of wheat on the head of Ahmad Shah, who was immediatly proclaimed King.

The image in Baert 2001 is similar to the one above.

Nadir Shah's son, Mohammad Zahir Shah, was placed on the throne by his uncles in 1933. (...) In 1964, a new Constitution established a new parliamentary regime, but the flag remained unchanged. On 17 July 1973, Zahir Shah's cousin, Prince Mohammed Daoud overthrew the King, then in Italy.
Ivan Sache
, 12 April 2002

Flag Variant

[Afghanistan 1930-1973, arms within red stripe] 2:3 image by Mark Sensen modified by Santiago Dotor

Date on flag 1348 (1929 C.E.)

Baert 2001 also shows the flag with the arms stretching over the red stripe only and mentions both flags as equivalent variants.
Ivan Sache, 12 April 2002

Royal Standard

[Afghanistan 1930-1973]


image by Željko Heimer, 22 November 2004

Date on flag 1348 (1929 C.E.)

The royal flag obverse (with sinister hoist!) is red with the coat of arms, white as on the national flag. The reverse include the royal cypher (called tughra, if I am not much mistaken) including an inscription above and another arched one below. The one below may be the Shahada. However, all these inscriptions are beyond my skill (but maybe they could be found online?).
Željko Heimer, 22 November 2004

Looking at an original photograph dated 1960, it seems that the Royal Standard features a coat of arms in the canton (on the obverse). This may also be verified from the same picture since the car flag does display the image above which may well be
the reverse of the flag.
Esteban Rivera, 29 May 2023

Royal flag of Nadeer Shah

[Royal flag of Nadeer Shah] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 September 2008

It is a plain red flag. In the centre of the flag is a black hat topped by a bunch of white feathers. The whole is probably a substitute for a crown. Behind the crown is a white star of rays, maybe an order. And below the hat there are two white crossed sabres. Jaume Olle claims that this flag was adopted in 1931 or 1934 while dates this flag from 1930-1933.
Cigarette ALBUM "Die Welt in Bildern Album 7 : Flaggen der Welt, aussereuropische Staaten", edited between 1930 and 1932; p.8, image no.255
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 16 September 2008


[Royal flag of Nadeer Shah - reverse] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 29 October 2008

The reverse is a plain red flag with two white inscriptions. The bigger one, in the centre of flag is, I believe, the king’s seal. There is also a smaller
monogram shifted to the hoist.
Cigarette ALBUM "Die Welt in Bildern Album 7 : Flaggen der Welt, aussereuropische Staaten", edited between 1930 and 1932; p.8, image no.257
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 29 October 2008