Afghanistan flag 10 x 15 cm
Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country that is located approximately in the center of Asia. It is variously designated as geographically located within Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East. It is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east, Iran in the south and west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far northeast. The name Afghanistan means the Land of Afghans.
Afghanistan is a crossroads between the East and the West, and has been an ancient focal point of trade and migration. It has an important geostrategical location, connecting South and Central Asia and Middle East. During its long history, the land has seen various invaders and conquerors, while on the other hand, local entities invaded the surrounding vast regions to form their own empires. Ahmad Shah Durrani created the Durrani Empire in 1747, which is considered the beginning of modern Afghanistan. Subsequently, the capital was shifted to Kabul and most of its territories ceded to former neighboring countries. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in "The Great Game" played between the British Indian Empire and Russian Empire. On August 19, 1919, following the third Anglo-Afghan war, the country regained full independence from the United Kingdom over its foreign affairs.
Since the late 1970s Afghanistan has suffered continuous and brutal civil war in addition to foreign interventions in the form of the 1979 Soviet invasion and the recent 2001 U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban government. In late 2001 the United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). This force is composed of NATO troops that are involved in assisting the government of President Hamid Karzai in establishing the writ of law as well as rebuilding key infrastructures in the nation. In 2005, the United States and Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership agreement committing both nations to a long-term relationship. In the meantime, multi-billion US dollars have also been provided by the international community for the reconstruction of the country.
The Flag of Afghanistan was adopted by the transitional government of Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan in 2002–2004. This flag is similar to the one flown in Afghanistan during the monarchy between 1930 and 1973. The difference is the addition of the shahadah at the top of the coat-of-arms (seen in gold/yellow) in the center. The new flag was adopted January 4, 2004.
This flag consists of three stripes of the colors black, red, and green. This has been present on most flags of Afghanistan in the last twenty years. The center emblem is the classical emblem of Afghanistan with a mosque with its mihrab facing Mecca.
The pre-Taliban-era and Afghan Northern Alliance flag featured the same emblem, but with green, white and black horizontal stripes instead.
Afghanistan has had more changes of its national flag during the twentieth century than any other country in the world.