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Afghan Independence Day 2019

Afghanistan National Holiday observed in Afghanistan

Independence Day is a public holiday in Afghanistan on 19th August. This is Afghanistan's National Day and commemorates independence from Britain influence in August 1919.
Flag of Afghanistan

When is Afghan Independence Day?

How long until Independence Day?
This holiday next takes place in 87 Days.
Dates of Independence Day
Year Weekday Date
2020 Wednesday
2019 Monday
2018 Sunday
Duration
1 Day
Summary
Independence from United Kingdom control over Afghan foreign affairs in 1919

Independence Day is a public holiday in Afghanistan on 19th August.

This is Afghanistan's National Day and commemorates independence from Britain influence on 19 August 1919.

History of Afghan Independence Day

Afghanistan is an Islamic state in Central Asia.  With its strategic position between India, Persia and the Silk Road, Afghanistan has been a region coveted by foreign empires since the dawn of civilisation.

Though the country we recognise today as Afghanistan only emerged in 1747, when Ahmad Shah Durrani unified the Pashtun tribes.

In the context of this holiday, our story begins with the arrival of the British in the early nineteenth century.

Threatened by the growth of the Russian Empire, Britain moved into Afghanistan to secure it as a buffer between Russia and the so-called 'Jewel in the Crown' of the British Empire, India. This led to the first Anglo-Afghan War when British forces invaded, installed King Shah Shujah, who was assassinated in 1842 and the war ended abruptly with the massacre of the entire British invading force by Afghan forces in the city of Jalalabad.

In 1878, the British returned and the Second Anglo-Afghan War resulted in victory for Britain over the Afghan army in Kandahar and a treaty that gave Britain control of Afghan foreign affairs in exchange for protection and a subsidy.

In 1919, the brief Third Anglo-Afghan War brought British control of any aspect of Afghanistan to an end.

Afghanistan signed the Treaty of Rawalpindi (or Anglo-Afghan Treaty) on 8 August 1919, when Britain formally recognised the sovereignty and independence of Afghanistan.

On 19 August 1919, Emir Amanullah Khan declared independence from British influence. Note that it wasn't independence from Britain, as Afghanistan was never part of the British Empire.

How is Afghan Independence Day Celebrated?

Independence Day marked with official speeches and military displays in the capital city of Kabul. It is a patriotic holiday with the colours of the Afghan flag prominent across the capital.

Jeshn

Afghanistan has a concept regarding its national celebrations, called 'jeshn'. From 1919 to 1973, the jeshn celebrated the anniversary of Afghanistan's independence from Britain's influence.  Jeshn wasn't observed on 19th August, but on the first day of the month of Sonbola (in the hejrah-e shamsi Islamic calendar), which usually occurs at the end of August, when the weather is better for large outdoor celebrations.

In 1973, a bloodless coup d’état ended the Afghan monarchy, and the date of jeshn moved to the anniversary of the coup on 26 Saratan, 1352 (17 July 1973).


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