Over the centuries, Afghanistan has had many flags, but in 1928, Afghan leader Amanullah Khan decided his country needed a more modern version of the flag. Khan chose three deeply symbolic colors: black, red, and green. The
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color black symbolized the dark ages of the past, red stood for the blood that has been shed in Afghanistan’s struggle to become an independent nation, and green represented the country’s hope for the future. Since 1928, there have been nearly twenty variations on Khan’s original flag; however, most incorporated these three colors, including the current flag, adopted in 2013. It prominently features Afghanistan’s national emblem in the center—a picture of a mosque and pulpit, as well as a mihrab (a wall niche in a mosque that shows worshippers the direction of Mecca so that Muslims know which way to face when in prayer). A wreath of wheat encircles these images, with Arabic writing at the top and bottom. At the top is the Arabic Shahadah, a creed declaring belief in one God and belief in Muhammad as God’s prophet. At the bottom is Arabic script for “1298.” In the Hirji calendar, the year 1298 represents the year Afghanistan gained independence from British rule. The year corresponds to 1919 in the Gregorian calendar we use today.
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