Afghan afghani

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Afghan afghani
افغانۍ  (Pashto); (Dari)افغانی
ISO 4217
Code AFN
1100 pul
Symbol ؋ (U+060B) or Af (sing.) or Afs[1]
Banknotes 1 Af, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 Afs
Coins 1 Af,[1] 2, 5 Afs
User(s)  Afghanistan (alongside the US dollar)
Central bank Da Afghanistan Bank
Inflation 13.8%
 Source The World Factbook, 2011 est.

The afghani (sign: Afs;[1] Pashto: افغانۍ; Dari افغانی; code: AFN) is the currency of Afghanistan. It is nominally subdivided into 100 pul (پول), although there are no pul coins currently in circulation.

Original afghani (1925-2001)[edit]

The first afghani (ISO 4217 code: AFA) was introduced in 1925. In addition to being subdivided into 100 pul, 20 afghani were equal to one amani. The rate of conversion from the rupee is sometimes quoted as 1 afghani = 1 rupee 6 paisa,[2] based on the silver contents of the last rupee coins and the first Afghani coins. The Afghani initially contained 9 grams of silver.[3]

Except during World War I Afghanistan's foreign exchange rate has been freely determined by market forces.[4] However, for some periods, a dual exchange rate regime existed in Afghanistan: an official exchange rate which was fixed by the Afghan Central Bank, and a free market exchange rate which was determined by the supply and demand forces in Kabul's money bazaar called Saraye Shahzada.[5] For example, in order to avoid the seasonal fluctuations in the exchange rate, a fixed exchange rate was adopted in 1935 by the Bank-e Milli, which was then responsible for the country's exchange rate system and official reserves.[5] Bank-e Milli agreed to exchange afghanis at 4 Afs against 1 Indian rupee in 1935. After the establishment of Da Afghanistan Bank as the Central Bank of Afghanistan, such a preferential official fixed exchange rate continued to be practiced. Although Da Afghanistan Bank tried to keep its official rate close to the Saraye Shahzada's exchange rate, the gap between the official and free-market exchange rates widened in the 1980s and during the civil war.

Since 2002, Da Afghanistan Bank has adopted a floating exchange rate regime and has let the exchange rate to be determined freely by market forces.

The Afghani exchange rate vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar since 1950 has been shown in the following table:

Afghani exchange rate (LCU in USD)[6]
Date Free-market exchange rate Official exchange rate
1950 39.0
1960 40.8 17.7
1970 84.8 39.9
1980 39.2
2003 49.0 49.0
2010 45.2 45.2

Prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, warlords, political parties, foreign powers and forgers each made their own Afghani banknotes, with no regard to standardization or honouring serial numbers. In December 1996, shortly after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan's institutions, Ehsanullah Ehsan, the chairman of the Taliban's Central Bank, declared most Afghani notes in circulation to be worthless (approximately 100 trillion Afghani) and cancelled the contract with the Russian firm that had been printing the currency since 1992. Ehsan accused the firm of sending new shipments of Afghani notes to ousted president Burhanuddin Rabbani in northern Takhar province. The exchange rate at the time of Ehsan's announcement was 21,000 Afghani to the U.S. dollar The Northern Alliance then had banknotes produced in Russia which were sold on the markets of Kabul at half their value.[citation needed]

In April 2000, the afghani traded at 6400 AFA per USD. By 2002, the afghani was valued at 43,000 AFA per USD. By 2009, the afghani was valued at 45 AFA per USD.


In 1925, bronze and brass 2, 5 and 10 pul, billon 20 pul, silver 12 and 1 afghani, and gold 12 and 1 amani coins were introduced, followed by silver 2 12 afghani and gold 2 12 amani in 1926.[citation needed] In 1930, bronze and brass 1 and 25 pul were added, along with bronze 3 pul and cupro-nickel 10 and 20 pul in 1937.[citation needed]

In 1952, aluminium 25 pul and nickel-clad steel 50 pul were introduced, followed by aluminium 2 and 5 afghani in 1958. In 1961 nickel-clad steel 1, 2 and 5 afghani were minted; the 1 and 2 afghani coins show years of SH 1340 and the 5 Afghani coin shows the year AH 1381.[7] In 1973, the Republic of Afghanistan issued brass-clad-steel 25 pul, copper-clad steel 50 pul and cupro-nickel-clad steel 5 afghani coins.[citation needed] These were followed, between 1978 and 1980, by issues of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan consisting of aluminium-bronze 25 and 50 pul and cupro-nickel 1, 2 and 5 afghani.[citation needed] A number of commemorative coins were also issued by the Islamic State of Afghanistan between 1995 and 2001.


Between 1925 and 1928, Treasury notes were introduced in denominations of 5, 10 and 50 afghanis. In 1936, 2, 20 and 100 afghani notes were added. The Bank of Afghanistan took over paper money production in 1939, issuing notes for 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 afghanis. The 2 and 5 afghani notes were replaced by coins in 1958. In 1993, 5000 and 10,000 afghani notes were introduced.

100 afghanis banknote of King Zahir Shah's reign (Front)
100 afghanis banknote of king Zahir Shah's reign (Back)

"A 'pothole cave' or 'mouth of a shaft' (or Pit cave) is said to be visible on the 10,000 afghanis banknote as a limited dark area in the hillside above the ancient 'pol' or gateway at the ruins near Lashkar Gah. This is possibly the entrance to one of the man-made undergrounds at Qal'a-i-Bost."[8]

New Afghani (2002–present)[edit]

Between February 2, 2002, and January 2, 2003, a new afghani was introduced with the ISO 4217 code AFN. No subdivisions have been issued. It replaced the previous afghani at two distinct rates. Issues of the government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani were replaced at a rate of 1000 to the new afghani, whilst the issues of Abdul Rashid Dostum (the Northern Alliance) were replaced at a rate of 2000 to the new afghani, The new afghani was valued at 43 afghani to the U.S. dollar. Prior to the reissue, there were more than 15 trillion afghani in circulation after unrestrained printing under Taliban rule and during wars and occupation.[citation needed]

This was in preparation for October 8 when all prices in the Afghan marketplace were to be specified in afghani.

After depreciating during the last quarter of 2003/04, the afghani has been appreciating steadily, gaining 8 percent against the U.S. dollar between end-March 2004 and end-July 2004. This appreciation, at a time of increasing inflation, appears to reflect a greater willingness by the population to use the afghani as a medium of exchange and as a store of value. This trend appears to be attributable to the relative stability of the exchange rate since the introduction of the new currency, administrative measures aimed at promoting its use, such as the requirement that shopkeepers must price goods in afghani. Donors are increasingly making payments in afghani instead of U.S. dollars and this appears to be widely accepted.


On 11 April 2005, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2 and 5 afghanis.[9]


On 2 February 2002, banknotes were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 afghanis. The 1, 2 and 5 afghani notes were replaced by coins in 2005. In 2004 and 2008, the security features on several denominations were improved.

2002 Series [1]
Image Value Dimensions Main Colour Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse printing issue
1 afghani 131 × 55 mm Pink Seal of Da Afghanistan Bank with Eucratides I-era coin. Mosque in Mazari Sharif 2002
(AH 1381)
October 7, 2002
2 afghanis Blue Paghman Gardens
5 afghanis Brown Bala Hissar
10 afghanis 136 × 56 mm Yellow green Ahmed Shah Durrani mausoleum, Kandahar Paghman Gardens
20 afghanis 140 × 58 mm Brown Mahmud of Ghazni's Tomb Arg King's Palace
50 afghanis 144 × 60 mm Dark green Shah Do Shamira Mosque Salang Pass
100 afghanis 148 × 62 mm Violet Pul e Khishti Mosque Arch of Bost
500 afghanis 152 × 64 mm Blue Great Mosque of Herat Kandahar Airport tower
1000 afghanis 156 × 66 mm Orange Mazar Sharif Shrine of Ali Tomb of Ahmad Shah Durrani Baba
These images are to scale at 0.7 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the banknote specification table.
Current AFN exchange rates

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Da Afghanistan Bank. "Capital Notes Issuance and Auction Archived 2013-05-13 at the Wayback Machine.." Accessed 26 Feb 2011.
  2. ^ Schuler, Kurt. "Tables of Modern Monetary History: Asia". Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  3. ^ Krause, Chester L.; Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0873411501. 
  4. ^ Fry, Maxwell J. (1976) "A Monetary Approach to Afghanistan's Flexible Exchange Rate", Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Vol. 8 (2): 219-225
  5. ^ a b Fry, Maxwell J. (1974) "The Afghan Economy: Money, Finance, and the Critical Constraints to Economic Development", Brill Publications, Leiden, Holland
  6. ^ Sources: Fry, Maxwell (1976); and "World Development Indicators" database of the World Bank
  7. ^ "Afghanistan coins". Numista. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Gebauer, Herbert Daniel. 2004. Resources on the Speleology of Afghanistan. Berliner Hoehlenkundliche Berichte. Band 14. ISSN 1617-8572. Page 81.
  9. ^ "Coining Hope In Afghanistan". CBS News. Retrieved 9 November 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

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