Afghanistan is marking the 101 st anniversary of its independence On August 19, 2020, from Great Britain. Historic as that milestone was for Afghans, it scarcely received mention in the American press.
Afghanistan Marked 101 years of Independence: Watch
As international media coverage on Afghanistan remains fixated on a handful of repetitive themes—a projected US withdrawal from the country, the fate of ongoing peace talks with the Taliban, and the state of the Afghan army—the advent of a centennial invites us to consider how Afghanistan’s history can inform a present fraught with uncertainty.
Even though Afghanistan was never part of the British Empire, it gained its independence from Britain after the signing of the Anglo-Afghan Treaty in 1919 – a treaty that granted complete neutral relations between Afghanistan and Britain. Great Britain fought three wars in Afghanistan. Following the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880) war, the British were given control of Afghanistan’s foreign affairs in exchange for protection against the Russians and Persians after The Third Anglo-Afghan War started the same year and resulted in the British giving up control of Afghanistan’s foreign affairs in 1921.
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At the centenary anniversary in 2019, international landmarks hoisted the Afghan flag tricolour, including the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The day also coincidences with the completion of the renovation of the Darul Aman Palace in Kabul, where official celebrations took place in Afghanistan.
World leaders, cricketers and media celebrities tweeted wishes on twitter wishing Afghanisthan on their Independence day. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi tweeted “Independence Day greetings to President @ashrafghani and the Afghan people! India supports Afghanistan’s aspiration to shape its own destiny for a better future, and its pursuit for a just society free from the menace of terrorism.”.
Former Punjab chief minister and Pakistan’s current Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif tweeted, “Heartiest congratulations to the brotherly people & govt of Afghanistan on their independence day. We wish that ongoing peace & reconciliation process under the leadership of President Ghani is successful & Afghan brothers & sisters are able to live a life of peace & prosperity!”