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For the historical ethnic group, see Afghan (ethnonym). For other uses of the term, see Afghan (disambiguation).
See also: Afghanistani

Afghan (Pashto also Persian: افغان; see etymology) refers to something from Afghanistan, particularly a citizen of that country. Prior to this definition, it was used by Persian speakers and those influenced by the Persian language to denote the Pashtun people. In modern times, "Afghan" is rarely used as an ethnic term for the Pashtuns but is rather used as the national demonym for all citizens of Afghanistan—Pashtuns, Tajiks, and also a large number of Hazaras, Uzbeks, Aimaqs, Turkmens, Balochs, Nuristanis, Pashayis, Pamiris, Arabs, and others. According to the Encyclopædia Iranica, the word Afghan (afḡān) in current political usage means any citizen of Afghanistan, regardless of their tribal or religious affiliation.[1] According to the 1964 Constitution of Afghanistan, all Afghans are equal in rights and obligations before the law.[2] The fourth article of the current Constitution of Afghanistan states that citizens of Afghanistan consist of Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Aymaq, Arab, Baluch, Pashayi, Nuristani, Qezelbash, Gujjars, Brahui, and members of other tribes.[3]

As an adjective, the word Afghan also means "of or relating to Afghanistan or its people, language, or culture".


In Persian language, the word 'Afghan' refers to Pashtun peoples. The word also carries some negative connotations among non-Pashtuns. For instance, among Hazara, Tajik and Uzbek, the word ‘Afghan’ is metaphorically used to denote backwardness. Among ethnic Hazara, 'Afghan' attains its meaning through a semantic shift, as 'Awgho' and it is often used in the households to scare the children for obedience. Historically, Hazaras have suffered at the hands of Pashtuns, and in their literature, Pashtuns are psychologically portrayed as evil, terror, savage, oppressor, and uncivilized people. This kind of portrayal has also shared among Uzbeks, Tajiks and Turkmen. Similarly, in northern Afghanistan among non-Pashtuns, the word 'Afghan' has also experienced a semantic change, which is 'Awghan,' and both metonymically and metaphorically used as a swear word to shame someone for wrongdoing and in contemptuous way it means representing someone as an object of ridicule.[4]


The term "Afghani" refers to the unit of Afghan currency. It is often improperly used for a person or thing related to Afghanistan.[5] The incorrect use of the term may have originated during the Soviet war in Afghanistan when millions of Afghans took refuge in neighboring Pakistan and Iran. The Afghani was created in 1925. Between 1925 and 1993 varieties of Afghani coins and banknotes were in circulation through Afghanistan. Coins issued during this period consisted of: 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 25 pul in bronze, brass, copper nickel, and aluminum-bronze; silver ½, 1, and 2½ Afghani; and gold ½, 1, and 2½ amani. Banknotes issued were in: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000, and 10,000 Afghani. In 1958 bank notes worth 2 and 5 were switched with coins.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "AFGHAN". Encyclopædia Iranica. 
  2. ^ "Article 1 of the 1964 Constitution of Afghanistan". Government of Afghanistan. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Constitution of Afghanistan". 2004. Retrieved 2013-02-16. National sovereignty in Afghanistan shall belong to the nation, manifested directly and through its elected representatives. The nation of Afghanistan is composed of all individuals who possess the citizenship of Afghanistan. The nation of Afghanistan shall be comprised of Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkman, Baluch, Pachaie, Nuristani, Aymaq, Arab, Qirghiz, Qizilbash, Gujur, Brahwui and other tribes. The word Afghan shall apply to every citizen of Afghanistan. No individual of the nation of Afghanistan shall be deprived of citizenship. The citizenship and asylum related matters shall be regulated by law. 
  4. ^ What do we know about the word ‘Afghan’ and who is called Afghan? September 7, 2015.
  5. ^ "More on Afghani". Retrieved March 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Afghan Afghani". 

External links[edit]

Afghan News

What do we know about the word ‘Afghan’ and who is called Afghan? September 7, 2015.