Editors note: On August 19th, 2013, Afghanistan celebrated its Independence Day. In the following piece, the author Maryam Safi, recounts how Afghans celebrated that day and how in doing so, they demonstrated their national pride and the greatness of their Afghan culture and history.

Maryam is an Afghan national born in Kabul in 1986.  Due to the civil war her family emigrated to Pakistan and Iran. She received her primary and secondary education outside of Afghanistan, but returned to Kabul where she graduated, from a girl’s high school.

Following high school she went on to study for her Bachelors in Islamic Law, at Kabul University and is now currently studying for her Masters Degree in “Social Change and Peace Building” at Future Generations Graduate School and the US Institute of Peace.

 Celebrating Independence Day in Afghanistan 

August 19th is a day of national pride for Afghanistan: it’s the day when Afghans celebrate our country’s Independence. This year, we marked 94 years of independence since the signing of the Anglo-Afghan treaty of 1919 between Afghanistan and the former British Empire.

King Amanullah Khan

King Amanullah Khan is the national hero who led the county against the British military in 1919 and forced Britain into a peace negotiation.

For many Afghans, 1919 holds a special place in the consciousness of Afghan’s because from an early age we are taught about our history and have learned about the constitution that was adopted then which states that “Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic, independent, unitary and indivisible state”. [1]

Afghans are honored by our country’s independence and there are many other things that are a source of our national pride. Our history is part of us, and it is important to remember that Afghans came together to fight for independence with a vision of unity and prosperity, and yet, it is deeply unfortunate that in recent years our country has become so divided base on ethnicity, language and religious sectarianism.

However, the return of our Independence Day reminds us of how our ancestors fought in unity and gained the honor that comes with the creation of a united independent nation that holds a common meaning for every citizen, which is that we all need to work together for prosperity of our country and once again prove that Afghans are united as one nation that cannot be divided.

Although Afghanistan didn’t mark its 94th year of independence with a huge official celebration ceremony, there were many activities that took place across the country to commemorate the day.  The news media broadcasted congratulatory messages and wished for sustainable peace from leaders around the world. Citizens across the country got out and celebrated, and civil society organizations, including youth forums, held celebrations. The Afghan government also held a military parade nearby Afghanistan’s the Ministry of Defense. Together, these activities all conveyed to the country and the world the importance of national independence.

The organisation Afghan Voices bought pride to the streets of Kabul in celebration of Independence Day


Those who understand Dari may want to see this news clip.

Although we may not have had the opportunity to celebrate this National Day with huge celebrations, this does not mean that the day is not seen as important or will be forgotten. To the contrary, the celebrations that did take place communicated a broad and important message to the younger generations and to the world that Afghans love their country and honor it national pride and independence.

Afghanistan continues to receive support from the international community as we tackle many challenges which include a lack of security, corruption, violence against women, inadequate economic development and widespread poverty all of which pose a threat to Afghanistan’s peaceful development. Nevertheless, this year, on August 19th, Afghans had the opportunity to celebrate their independence as a unified proud nation. This was a day that represented for all the history, culture, unity and the heroism of the Afghan people. It also sent a message to the world that while Afghanistan still has many challenges to overcome, our history shows that we have the ability to make change happen.

 [1] Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Constitution, adopted in the Islamic year of 1382.

1 Comment

Constantine · September 3, 2013 at 2:45 am

Brilliant Maryam, keep it up

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