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Afghan refers to someone or something from Afghanistan, in particular a citizen of that country.[1][2] Prior to the rise of the nation as Afghanistan, 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[3][4]Pashtuns, and a large number of Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Aimaqs, Turkmens, Balochs, Nuristanis, Pashayis, Pamiris, Arabs, and others.[5] 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.[6] According to the 1964 Constitution of Afghanistan, all Afghans are equal in rights and obligations before the law.[7] The fourth article of the current Constitution of Afghanistan states that citizens of Afghanistan consist of Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Aimaq, Arab, Baluch, Pashayi, Nuristani, Qizilbash, Gurjar, Brahui, and members of other tribes.[8]

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

Afghans in History, Present and of Descent[edit]

There have been many notable Pashtuns in history and present including: Khushal Khattak who is regarded as the "Father of Pashto literature" and the "National poet of Afghanistan", Ahmad Shah Durrani who is considered the "Founder of the modern state of Afghanistan", Mirwais Hotak who is referred to as "Mirwais the father", Wazir Akbar Khan, Malalai of Maiwand who is known as "The Afghan Jeanne D'Arc", Amanullah Khan, the Afghan Girl, Abdul Ahad Mohmand was the first Afghan in space and spoke the fourth language in space (Pashto), Ahmad Zahir who is regarded as the "King of Afghan music", Naghma who is considered to be the "Greatest female artist in Afghanistan", Farhad Darya, Kader Khan, Shah Rukh Khan who is referred to in the media as the "King of Bollywood", Salman Khan who stars in the 2nd highest viewed Indian song on Youtube (Swag Se Swagat), Irrfan Khan, Imran Khan and Malala Yousafzai.

Some famous Afghan Tajik people throughout history and present include: Ahmad Shah Massoud who was awarded the "National hero of Afghanistan", Siyar Bahadurzada who is a competitor at the Ultimate Fighting Championship, some footballers who play around the world are Nadia Nadim, Hailai Arghandiwal, Nadiem Amiri and Mustafa Amini. Hammasa Kohistani was the first Afghan/Muslim model to win Miss England. There are many artists which include Mozhdah Jamalzadah, Ahmad Wali and Haidar Salim.


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.[9] 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.[10]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Garner, Bryan (2009). Garner's Modern American Usage (third ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-19-538275-4.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Central Intelligence Agency (22 January 1993). "Afghanistan: People". The World Factbook. University of Missouri. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  6. ^ "AFGHAN". Encyclopædia Iranica.
  7. ^ "Article 1 of the 1964 Constitution of Afghanistan". Government of Afghanistan. Archived from the original on 2011-09-17. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "Chatterbox: More on 'Afghani'". Slate. October 4, 2001. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  10. ^ "Afghan Afghani".

External links[edit]