AFGHANI (afḡānī), the unit of currency in modern Afghanistan. Throughout the 19th century, Afghanistan’s unit of currency was the rupee (rūpya). In Qandahār, each rupee was equal to one-half miskal (2.3 gr.) pure silver or 36 paisa (paysa), and in Kabul each rupee was equal to one miskal pure silver or 60 paisa (or folūs). Each Kabuli rupee equaled two qerān, three ʿabbāsī (one ʿabbāsī being equal to 20 paisa), or twelve šāhī (one šāhī being equal to five paisa). Paisas were made of copper or zinc, whereas coins of higher value were minted in silver.

After 1920 a series of reforms were introduced by the government. In 1305 Š./1926, an official book of standards (Neẓām-nāma-ye meqyāsāt-e Afḡānestān, Kabul, 1304 Š./1925) was put into effect, establishing the afghani as the unit of currency, made up of 100 puls (pūl). A pul was a one gram copper coin, but ten-pul coins weighed 6 gr. Two old paisas equal three new pul, and an old Kabuli rupee equals 91 pul, so eleven old Kabuli rupees equal ten new afghanis. The same source describes the amānī as a gold coin weighing 6 gr. and equal to 20 afghanis. Today ten and fifty-pul coins are made of copper, one and five afghanis of silver and nickel alloy, and ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred, five hundred and one thousand afghanis are banknotes.


See also Āryānā dāʾerat al-maʿāref, Kabul, 1335 Š./1956, III, p. 2664.

(ʿA. Ḥabībī)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 22, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 5, p. 486

Cite this entry:

ʿA. Ḥabībī, “AFGHANI,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/5, p. 486; an updated version is available online at (accessed on 7 March 2014).