Afghan (Pashto/Persian: افغان) refers to someone or something from Afghanistan, in particular a citizen of that country. Originating from the name of the Aśvakan or Assakan, ancient inhabitants of the Hindu Kush region, the ethnonym "Afghan" was used in the past to denote a member of the Pashtun people. In modern times, this usage rarely persists, and instead it is mostly used as the national demonym for all citizens of Afghanistan—Pashtuns and many Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Aimaqs, Turkmens, Balochs, Nuristanis, Pashayis, Pamiris, Arabs and others—regardless of their tribal or religious affiliation.
As an adjective, the word Afghan also means "of or relating to Afghanistan or its people, language or culture". According to the 1964 Constitution of Afghanistan, all Afghans are equal in rights and obligations before the law. The fourth article of the current Constitution of Afghanistan states that citizens of Afghanistan consist of Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Baloch, Pashayi, Nuristani, Aimaq, Arab, Kyrgyz, Qizilbash, Gurjar, Brahui, and members of other tribes.
The term "Afghani" refers to the unit of Afghan currency. The term is also often used (and appears in some dictionaries) for a person or thing related to Afghanistan, although some have expressed the opinion that this usage is incorrect. The term "Afghani" (or more usually "al-Afghani") is also a common surname among Afghans – for example, Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī and Jamila Afghani.
The Afghani currency unit 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, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 Afghani. In 1958 bank notes worth 2 and 5 were switched with coins.
Notes and references
- "Afghanistani (noun) definition and synonyms | Macmillan Dictionary". www.macmillandictionary.com. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
- Garner, Bryan (2009). Garner's Modern American Usage (third ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-19-538275-4.
- Siegal, Allan M.; Connolly, William (2015). The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage (fifth ed.). New York: Crown Publishing Group. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-336-02484-7.
- "The name Afghan has evidently been derived from Asvakan, the Assakenoi of Arrian... " (Megasthenes and Arrian, p 180. See also: Alexander's Invasion of India, p 38; J. W. McCrindle).
- "Even the name Afghan is Aryan being derived from Asvakayana, an important clan of the Asvakas or horsemen who must have derived this title from their handling of celebrated breeds of horses" (See: Imprints of Indian Thought and Culture abroad, p 124, Vivekananda Kendra Prakashan).
- cf: "Their name (Afghan) means "cavalier" being derived from the Sanskrit, Asva, or Asvaka, a horse, and shows that their country must have been noted in ancient times, as it is at the present day, for its superior breed of horses. Asvaka was an important tribe settled north to Kabul river, which offered a gallant resistance but ineffectual resistance to the arms of Alexander "(Ref: Scottish Geographical Magazine, 1999, p 275, Royal Scottish Geographical Society).
- "Afghans are Assakani of the Greeks; this word being the Sanskrit Ashvaka meaning 'horsemen' " (Ref: Sva, 1915, p 113, Christopher Molesworth Birdwood).
- Cf: "The name represents Sanskrit Asvaka in the sense of a cavalier, and this reappears scarcely modified in the Assakani or Assakeni of the historians of the expedition of Alexander" (Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological..by Henry Yule, AD Burnell).
- Central Intelligence Agency (22 January 1993). "Afghanistan: People". The World Factbook. University of Missouri. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
- "AFGHAN". Encyclopædia Iranica.
- In referring to the former usage of "Afghan" as synonymous with "Pashtun", Maley said, While this was certainly the sense in which the word 'Afghan' was used in major nineteenth-century works (and continues to be used in parts of Afghanistan), such usage has now almost completely died out in English-language sources. Maley, William (2009). The Afghanistan Wars (second ed.). Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-230-21313-5.
- Naby, Eden (1988). "The Changing Role of Islam as a Unifying Force in Afghanistan". In Banuazizi, Ali; Weiner, Myron (eds.). The State, Religion, and Ethnic Politics: Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. pp. 124–154. ISBN 978-0-8156-2448-6.
- "Article 1 of the 1964 Constitution of Afghanistan". Government of Afghanistan. Archived from the original on 2011-09-17. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
- "Constitution of Afghanistan". 2004. Archived from the original on 2016-08-04. 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.
- "Chatterbox: More on 'Afghani'". Slate. October 4, 2001. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
- "Afghan Afghani". famouswonders.com.
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