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Air Force (Afghanistan)

Last modified: 2011-06-10 by ian macdonald
Keywords: afghanistan | air force | roundel (air force) | star (red) |
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Introduction

I don't know if they've changed since, but they were previously different. In my book (1967), Afghanistan roundels appear as:

  • 1929: White circle with "Allah" written above "Akbar", surrounded by a dark green ring, then a red ring and then a black ring.
  • 1929 to 1965: Black, red, dark green roundel, with in 1945, additional green, red, black stripes, as well as roundels on the wings.
  • 1966: An isosceles triangle one point at north (12 o'clock), divided equally into black to the right, red to the bottom, and dark green to the left. Set on a white circle, the points of the triangle not touching the circumference.

David Prothero, 12 July 1997

The Afghan Air Force was officially established in 22 August 1924 in order to be destroyed in 1929 and reformed in 1937. There are very few sources about its roundels, with quite a lot of contradiction among them.
Dov Gutterman, 10 June 2004


Roundel 1929

Cochrane & Elliott (1998) reported the 1924-1929 roundels as a black and white arms (opposed colors to the arms on the 1919 flag) on the fuselage and rudder, while an inscription "Allah Akhbar" was written below the wings.
Dov Gutterman, 10 June 2004


Roundel 1937-1967

[Roundel 1937-1967 (Afghanistan)] image by Frank George Valoczy, 4 July 2003

Cochrane & Elliott (1998) also reported that after reorganization in 1937 under British influence, the Afghan Air Force used a tri-color roundel (inside-out black-red-green) and fin-flash at the same order of colors. Some aircraft may have also tricolor stripes on their wings. Cochrane & Elliott (1998) showed the roundel a with thinner green circle (2:2:1). However Jane's 1945 shows the roundel as red-black-green with a thinner black stripe (2:1:2) and (inside-out) green-red-black stripes on the rudder. I couldn't find a photo from this era but, as far as I can recall, Cochrane & Elliott (1998) is the correct one.

The 1937 roundel was kept when it became the Royal Afghan Air Force in 1948 while in the 50's the rudder stripes became the fin-flash.
Dov Gutterman, 10 June 2004

This image shows the roundel as it was used.
Dov Gutterman, 11 June 2004


Fin Flash 1937-1967

[Fin Flash 1937-1967 (Afghanistan)] image by Mark Sensen and Dov Gutterman

From Cochrane & Elliott (1998):

Mohammed Nadir Shah, the victor in the 1929 insurrection, changed Afghan colours from largely red to red, green and black, symbolizing bloodshed for independence, hope for the future and the country's dark past.
A 1:1 fin flash with those colours was used as fin flash between 1937 —when the Afghan Air Force was reformed— and 1967.
Dov Gutterman, 7 February 2000

Roundel 1967-1979

[Roundel 1937-1967 (Afghanistan)] image by Frank George Valoczy, 4 July 2003

In 1967 a new roundel was introduced, and used also as a fin flash. David Prothero reports it as "an isosceles triangle one point at north (12 o'clock) divided equally into black to the right, red to the bottom, and dark green to the left. Set on a white circle, the points of the triangle not touching the circumference."

Cochrane & Elliott (1998) showed it with red on left, green on right and black at the bottom. They also reported Arabic letters on the white circle (too small to identify in his image). This roundel was in use until 1979 (even though the Shah was overthrown in 1973) and according to Cochrane & Elliott (1998) it was re-introduced in 1995.

The Roundels of the World website shows this roundel (with a third possible arrangement - black on the right, green on the left and red on the bottom), with the Arabic numbers 1,1 and 5 as the Roundel of the Northern Alliance (and therefore also the current roundel).
Dov Gutterman, 10 June 2004

A capture from a report on "The World" on BBC4 TV (15 June 2004) shows that this roundel appears to be in use now.
André Coutanche, 15 June 2004


Roundel 1979-1983

[Roundel 1937-1967 (Afghanistan)] image by Frank George Valoczy, 4 July 2003

In 1979 a new roundel was introduced, a red disc with yellow inscriptions or devices. The image at Cochrane & Elliott (1998) is quite poor, but it can be identified as the arms on October 1978 flag. According to Cochrane & Elliott (1998), this roundel was in use until 1983. However, those arms were already changed on April 1980.....
Dov Gutterman, 10 June 2004


Air Force Roundel ca. 1985

[Air Force Roundel ca.1985 (Afghanistan)]image by Mark Sensen

In Flaggenmitteilung no. 108 (April 1985) I found four air force roundels, including Afghanistan. It is possible these emblems changed, especially that of Afghanistan.
Mark Sensen
, 10 July 1997

Cochrane & Elliott (1998) reported a new roundel and fin flash in 1983 as a red star within a circle of the national colours. The image is too small to identify the order of colors. Wheeler (1986) reported this roundel as that of the Afghan Republican Air Force since 1979 with the colors of the ring as black-red-green.
The Roundels of the World website reported the ring as green-red black.
The Air Force Badges website shows a narrow green-red-very narrow black set of rings.
However, from the photo at http://www.airliners.net/photos/small/7/5/8/294857.jpg it seems that the black is in the outer ring and the French website image is
correct (even thou the red seems to have faded).
Dov Gutterman, 10 June 2004


Northern Alliance Air Force Roundel 2001

[Northern Alliance Air Force Roundel 2001 (Afghanistan)] image by Brent Jacobs and Santiago Dotor

The air force roundel currently being used by the loyalist Northern Alliance.
Brent Jacobs
, 8 October 2001

I would like to know when did the current roundel (as used by the loyalist Northern Alliance) appear? It looks identical to the 1966 one mentioned above by David Prothero, only removing the bottom, red area of the triangle (hence leaving a spearhead shape). A detailed French television report about Cdr. Massoud (Massoud l'Afghan by Christophe de Pontilly) showed a couple of times the roundel on helicopters transporting him, but I am not sure whether the central element was a spearhead or simply a triangle (half black, half green).
Santiago Dotor, 9 October 2001