Independence Day in Afghanistan

Independence Day is a national holiday in Afghanistan that is celebrated on August 19th each year and commemorates the signing of the Anglo-Afghan Treaty on this date in 1919. This treaty relinquished the country from protected state status and established a neutral relationship between Afghanistan and Great Britain.

Before this, Afghanistan was a British Protectorate. This day is a public holiday in Afghanistan, so not only do people have the day off, but schools, government institutions, and businesses are also closed for the day. It is also a day that is marked with parades and military displays across the country — particularly in the capital city of Kabul.

The History of Independence Day in Afghanistan

Throughout history, the area now known as Afghanistan has been an important and strategic region for trade and military expeditions. It is located between Iran and China, with Pakistan and India to its southeast. This places the country on the Silk Road, one of the most important trade routes in history. Afghanistan emerged in its present form during the mid-18th century when Ahmad Shah Durrani unified the Pashtun tribes.

Great Britain moved into Afghanistan when it felt threatened by the Russian Empire’s expansion. This directly led to the first Anglo-Afghan War after Britain installed King Shah Shujah. However, this king was assassinated in 1842, and the war ended.

After the Second and Third Anglo-Afghan Wars, British control of Afghanistan officially ended, and on August 8, 1919, Great Britain officially recognized the sovereignty of Afghanistan. On August 19th of that year, Emir Amanullah Khan declared independence from British influence.

Observing Independence Day in Afghanistan

This day is a day off for the general public, and businesses and government offices are officially closed. This is also a day when many people head out to see the military parades and listen to official speeches given by politicians. All across the country, the Afghan flag is flown from government buildings and businesses on this holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
Afghanistan (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
August 19 Monday
Next year (2025)
August 19 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
August 19 Saturday