Afghan afghani

The afghani (sign: ؋ or Af (plural: Afs)[1] code: AFN; Pashto: افغانۍ; Persian : افغانی) is the currency of Afghanistan, which traditionally is issued by the nation's central bank called Da Afghanistan Bank. It is nominally subdivided into 100 puls (پول), although there are no pul coins currently in circulation. In September 2021, one U.S. dollar was exchanged for approximately 88 afghanis.[2] The afghani is also informally referred to as rūpa.[3]

افغانۍ (Pashto)
50 afgania.jpg
50 afghani note (obverse)
ISO 4217
CodeAFN (numeric: 971)
before 2003: AFA
Symbol؋‎ or Af (singular) and Afs (plural)[1]
BanknotesAf. 1, Afs. 2, Afs. 5, Afs. 10, Afs. 20, Afs. 50, Afs. 100, Afs. 500 and Afs. 1,000
CoinsAf. 1, Afs. 2 and Afs. 5
User(s) Afghanistan
Central bankDa Afghanistan Bank
PrinterPolish Security Printing Works [pl]
Inflation5% (2018 est.)
 SourceDa Afghanistan Bank
The World Factbook



5 Afghan afghani (1961)
Obverse: Portrait of Mohammed Zahir Shah with lettering "* محمد ظاهر * دافغانستان" (Mohammed Zahir Afghanistan) on top and "۱۳۴-۱۳۸۱" (1381 - 1340) at bottom. Reverse: Wheat ear flank on the side and denomination in the centre. Lettering "پنج" (five), "۵" (5) and "افغانی" (Afghanis).
Afghani coin from the reign of Zahir Shah, who was king of Afghanistan from 1933 (Iranian year 1340) to 1973 (Iranian year 1381).
5 afghani (1973)
Obverse: Emblem of Afghanistan (this emblem was used from 1974 to 1978 only) surrounded by lettering "دافغانستان جمهوريت" (The Republic of Afghanistan) and "۱۳٥۲" (Solar Hijri year 1352). Reverse: Denomination surrounded by grain sprig wreath. Lettering "پنجه" (Five), "۵" (5) and "افغانی" (Afghanis).
This coin was minted only in 1973

The original afghani (ISO 4217 code: AFA) was introduced in 1925, replacing the Afghan rupee that was used from 1891 and other currencies.[4] In addition to being subdivided into 100 puls, 20 afghanis were equal to one amani. The rate of conversion from the rupee is sometimes quoted as 1 afghani = 1 rupee 6 paisas,[5] based on the silver contents of the last rupee coins and the first afghani coins. The afghani initially contained 9 grams of silver.[6]

Except during World War I, Afghanistan's foreign exchange rate has been freely determined by market forces.[7] 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.[8] 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-Millie (National Bank), which was then responsible for the country's exchange rate system and official reserves.[8] Bank-e-Millie agreed to exchange afghani at Afs. 4 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 Sarai Shahzada exchange rate, the gap between the official and free-market exchange rates widened in the 1980s and during the civil war thereafter.

The afghani traded at Afs. 67 to one US dollar in 1973. After the start of a civil war in 1992, the same US dollar bought Afs. 16,000.[9] Banknotes from the period of Zahir Shah's monarchy ceased to be legal tender by 1991. After the creation of a dysfunctional government and the start of the civil war, different warlords and factions, foreign powers and forgers each made their own afghani banknotes to support themselves financially, with no regard to standardization or honoring 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 Afs. 21,000 to one US dollar. It was then devalued to Afs. 43,000 to the dollar. Abdul Rashid Dostum, who controlled a self-declared autonomous region in northern Afghanistan until 1998, also printed his own money for his region.

Following the United States intervention, the currency became highly destabilized. The afghani traded at Afs. 73,000 per US$1 in September 2001, steeply soaring to Afs. 23,000 after the fall of the Taliban regime in December 2001, before plunging again to Afs. 36,000 in January 2002.[10] Around seven different versions of the currency were in circulation by that time. A former governor said at the time that maybe "trillions" of banknotes are in circulation as a result.[11]


In 2002, the afghani was redenominated, and it received a new ISO 4217 code AFN. No subdivisions were issued. It replaced the previous afghani at two distinct rates: issues of the government of former President Rabbani (de jure 1992–2001) were replaced at a rate of 1,000 to the new afghani, whilst the issues of warlord Dostum (1992–1997 in northern Afghanistan) were replaced at a rate of 2,000 to the new afghani. It was created in an effort to stabilize the economy and stop the rapid inflation. The notes were printed in Germany.[12]

The new currency was announced by President Hamid Karzai on 4 September 2002, and was introduced to the market on October 8, 2002.[13] This monetary reform was well received by the public as it was a sign of security and stability, especially the country's rebuilding effort. People also no longer had to carry many bags of money for ordinary things. It was the first time in many years that a sole currency was under the control of the central bank instead of warlords.[9] Most old banknotes were destroyed by the end of 2002.

Da Afghanistan Bank has adopted a floating exchange rate regime and has let the exchange rate be determined freely by market forces. The new afghani was valued at Afs. 43 to one US dollar.

After depreciating during the last quarter of 2003/04, the afghani appreciated steadily, gaining 8 per cent against the US dollar between March 2004 and 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 afghanis instead of US dollars and this appears to be widely accepted. By 2009, the afghani was valued at Afs. 45 per one US dollar. In 2019, the afghani reached Afs. 75 to the US dollar.[14]


After the Taliban took over, Afghanistan's foreign assets were frozen. IMF blocked the release of $450 million in August.[15] Subsequently, the value of the afghani fell.[15] The Taliban banned all foreign currencies to encourage use of the afghani as national tender.[16]


In 1952, aluminium 25 pul and nickel-clad steel 50 pul were introduced, followed by aluminium Afs. 2 and Afs. 5 in 1958. In 1961 nickel-clad steel Af. 1, Afs. 2 and Afs. 5 were minted; the Af. 1 and Afs. 2 coins show years of SH 1340 and the Afs. 5 coin shows the year AH 1381.[17] A number of commemorative coins were also issued by the Islamic State of Afghanistan between 1995 and 2001.[citation needed]

On 11 April 2005, coins were introduced in denominations of Af. 1, Afs. 2 and Afs. 5.[18]

Coins of the Afghani
Obverse Reverse Value Technical parameters Description
Diameter Mass Composition Edge Obverse Reverse
  Af. 1
23 mm 4.0 g Nickel clad steel Reeded Wheat, country name and year.
Lettering "افغانستان" (Afghanistan),
"١٣٤٠" (Year 1340 as per
Iranian calendar i.e. 1961 A.D).
Denomination surrounded
with star at periphery.
Lettering "یوة ١ افغاني"
(One Afghani).
    Af. 1 20 mm 3.25 g Copper-plated steel Smooth Coat of arms of Afghanistan Denomination and year
    Afs. 2 22 mm 4.1 g Stainless Steel
  Afs. 5 24 mm 5.08 g Brass Reeded


Closeup of an Afs. 500 note issued in 1990, featuring a picture of men playing Buzkashi

Between 1925 and 1928, Treasury notes were introduced in denominations of Afs. 5, Afs. 10 and Afs. 50. In 1936, Afs. 2, Afs. 20 and Afs. 100 notes were added. The Bank of Afghanistan (Da Afghanistan Bank) took over paper money production in 1939, issuing notes for Afs. 2, Afs. 5, Afs. 10, Afs. 20, Afs. 50, Afs. 100, Afs. 500 and Afs. 1,000. The Afs. 2 and Afs. 5 notes were replaced by coins in 1958. In 1993, Afs. 5,000 and Afs. 10,000 notes were introduced.

"A 'pothole cave' or 'mouth of a shaft' (or Pit cave) is said to be visible on the Afs. 10,000 banknote from 1993 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 Qala-e-Bost."[19]

1978 Series
Image Value Dimensions Main Color Description
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
Afs. 10 115 × 52 mm Green Seal of Da Afghanistan Bank Salang Pass
Afs. 20 125 × 56 mm Orange Seal of Da Afghanistan Bank Band-e Amir National Park
Afs. 50 134 × 58 mm Turquoise Seal of Da Afghanistan Bank Darul Aman Palace
    Afs. 100 142 × 62 mm Pink Seal of Da Afghanistan Bank, peasant Dam, hydroelectric power station
  Afs. 500 151 × 66 mm Purple Seal of Da Afghanistan Bank, Buzkashi players Bala Hissar fortress
    Orange and green
    Afs. 1,000 160 × 70 mm Brown Seal of Da Afghanistan Bank, Shrine of Ali mosque Taq-e Zafar and Lion Gate
  Afs. 5,000 165 × 74 mm Purple Seal of Da Afghanistan Bank, Pul-e Khishti Mosque Tomb of Ahmad Shah Durrani
    Afs. 10,000 170 × 77 mm Turquoise Seal of Da Afghanistan Bank, Great Mosque of Herat Qala-e-Bost

On 7 October 2002, banknotes were introduced in denominations of Af. 1, Afs. 2, Afs. 5, Afs. 10, Afs. 20, Afs. 50, Afs. 100, Afs. 500, and Afs. 1,000. The Af. 1, Afs. 2 and Afs. 5 notes were replaced by coins in 2005. In 2004 and 2008, the security features on several denominations were improved. In 2014 a new Afs. 1,000 note was introduced to prevent counterfeit notes.

2002 Series [20]
Image Value Dimensions Main Color Description
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
    Af. 1 131 × 55 mm Pink Seal of Da Afghanistan Bank with Eucratides I-era coin. Mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif
[1] [2] Afs. 2 Blue Taq-e Zafar
[3] [4] Afs. 5 Brown Bala Hissar fortress
[5] [6] Afs. 10 136 × 56 mm Yellow green Ahmad Shah Durrani mausoleum, Kandahar Taq-e Zafar and Lion Gate
[7] [8] Afs. 20 140 × 58 mm Brown Mahmud of Ghazni's Tomb Arg King's Palace
  [9] Afs. 50 144 × 60 mm Dark green Shah-Do Shamshira Mosque Salang Pass
[10] [11] Afs. 100 148 × 62 mm Violet Pul-e Khishti Mosque Qala-e-Bost
[12] [13] Afs. 500 152 × 64 mm Blue Great Mosque of Herat Kandahar International Airport tower
[14] [15] Afs. 1,000 156 × 66 mm Orange Shrine of Ali, Mazar-i-Sharif Tomb of Ahmad Shah Durrani

Exchange rateEdit

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)[21]
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
2019 75[14] 75[14]
2021 85 85
Current AFN exchange rates


  1. ^ a b Da Afghanistan Bank. "Capital Notes Issuance and Auction Archived 2013-05-13 at the Wayback Machine." Accessed 26 Feb 2011.
  2. ^ "XE: Convert USD/AFN. United States Dollar to Afghanistan Afghani". Retrieved 2021-08-19.
  3. ^ "آیس‌کریم فروشی با آرزوهای بزرگ در روزی از این‌ روزها، وقتی از خانه می‌برآیم، پیش از آن ‌که نگاهم به کراچی آیس‌کریم ‌فروش بیفتد، صدای اعلان آن به گوشم می‌رسد. می‌بینم که کراچی آیس‌کریم با همان رنگِ سرخش در انتهای کوچه‌ی خانه‌ی ما قرار دارد. چند قدمی برمی‌دارم و به آن نزدیک می‌شوم. آیس‌کریم ‌فروش‌ها معمولا و تا آن‌جایی که من دیده‌ام، نوجوانان بوده‌اند. این آیس‌کریم‌ فروش نیز، نوجوانی است سیزده ساله که مسیح نام دارد". Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  4. ^ "Coins and Banknotes". Da Afghanistan بللبفصکنکبگبککزنرکمب کبنبککبنبنکنوو. 2019. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  5. ^ Schuler, Kurt. "Tables of Modern Monetary History: Asia". Retrieved 2007-08-27.
  6. ^ Krause, Chester L.; Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 0873411501.
  7. ^ Fry, Maxwell J. (1976) "A Monetary Approach to Afghanistan's Flexible Exchange Rate", Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Vol. 8 (2): 219-225
  8. ^ a b Fry, Maxwell J. (1974) "The Afghan Economy: Money, Finance, and the Critical Constraints to Economic Development", Brill Publications, Leiden, Holland
  9. ^ a b "All Change for Afghan Currency". 14 September 2002.
  10. ^ "Chaos in Kabul amid currency rumours". 22 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Dollar could be Afghan stopgap". 22 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Afghanistan redenominates currency". 4 September 2002.
  13. ^ " - Afghanistan banks on new currency - Oct. 5, 2002".
  14. ^ a b c "Afghani Falls Against Dollar By 3% In A Month". April 18, 2019. Retrieved 2019-04-18.
  15. ^ a b "Afghanistan's tumbling currency compounds economic crisis". Al Jazeera.
  16. ^ "Taliban bans foreign currencies in Afghanistan". BBC News. 2021-11-03. Retrieved 2021-11-03.
  17. ^ "Afghanistan coins". Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  18. ^ "Coining Hope In Afghanistan". CBS News. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  19. ^ Gebauer, Herbert Daniel. 2004. Resources on the Speleology of Afghanistan. Berliner Hoehlenkundliche Berichte. Band 14. ISSN 1617-8572. Page 81.
  20. ^ "Report on Kabul Bank Asset Recovery 30-June-2013" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 May 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  21. ^ Sources: Fry, Maxwell (1976); and "World Development Indicators" database of the World Bank

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit