The Afghani is the official currency of Afghanistan and is divided into subunits of 100 pul. Interestingly enough, however, there are no pul coins in circulation. Read on to learn more about the Afghan Afghani, its history, and its banknotes and coins.
A Brief History
The history of the Afghani can be divided into two parts: the original Afghani (1925 to 2003) and the new Afghani (2002 to present).
The original Afghani was introduced as a form of currency in Afghanistan in 1925 and originally contained 9 grams of silver. For the most part, the foreign exchange rate of the Afghani was freely determined by market forces, but during some periods the Afghani did see a dual exchange rate—with one exchange rate fixed by the Afghan Central Bank, and one exchange rate determined by free market forces in Kabul’s money bazaar Saraye Shahzada. In 1935, for example, the Bank e-Milli, which was responsible for Afghanistan’s exchange rate system and official reserves, adopted a fixed exchange rate of 4 Afghanis to 1 Rupee in order to avoid seasonal fluctuations in the exchange rate. In 1939, Da Afghanistan Bank was established as the Central Bank of Afghanistan, and it then took on the responsibility of setting fixed exchange rates, which were typically similar to the Saraye Shahzada exchange rate. Since 2002, the Central Bank of Afghanistan has adopted a floating exchange rate.
The new Afghani was introduced between October 2002 and January 2003, and though it is technically divided into 100 pul, no pul coins have been issued. The new Afghani was valued at 43 Afghani to 1 U.S. dollar and depreciated during the last quarter of 2003/2004, but it began to appreciate steadily after that period.
The new Afghani banknotes originally came in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000 Afghanis, but the 1, 2, and 5 Afghani notes were replaced by coins in 2005. The banknotes come in a wide range of colors from pink, violet, and brown to yellow green, dark green, and blue. They typically feature various prominent sites on the obverse, such as Mahmud of Ghazni’s tomb on the 20 Afghani note, Shah Do Shamira Mosque on the 50 Afghani note, and Pul e Khishti Mosque on the 100 Afghani note. The obverses also feature various prominent sites.
Afghani coins come in three denominations: 1, 2, and 5 Afghanis.