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Afghanistan / 4 Products

The Islamic State of Afghanistan (the land of Afghans) is a multi-ethnic landlocked country found in the heart of south-central Asia. Because it lies along important trade routes connecting southern and eastern Asia with Europe and the Middle East, Afghanistan (formerly known as Aryana and Khorasan) was invaded several times throughout its history. It was a powerful empire under the Kushans, Hephthalites, Ghaznavids, and Ghoris. 

Because it was a crossroad of ancient trade routes, many ancient coins also circulated in Afghanistan. Its traditional coinage also shared similarities with its neighbors. Afghanistan had four major mints: Kabul, Kandahar, Balkh, and Herat. The Durranis also controlled mints in Iran and India. Gold and silver Afghan coins included the name of the mint city and the ruler in Persian. Meanwhile, copper coins were controlled locally and didn’t include the name of the ruler. The value of these coins varied and were determined in the marketplace. 

In 1891, Abdur Rahman set up a modern mint in Kabul using British minting machinery. Other mints were closed except for local coppers. The rupee system was introduced, where 1 rupee equaled 60 paise. In 1901, the name Afghanistan appeared on coins for the first time. Until 1919, coins were dated by the lunar Islamic Hejira calendar (AH), often with the king’s regnal year as a second date. Afterwards, the king’s regnal year was replaced by the Gregorian calendar. In 1923, the afghani was introduced during the era of King Amanullah Khan, replacing the rupee at a rate of 1 afghani to 1 rupee and 6 paisas. This conversion was based on the silver contents of the last rupee coins and first afghani coins. 

The currency system was decimalized in 1925, with 1 Afghani equating to 100 puls. The national symbol on most Afghan coins was a stylized mosque with the mihrab (niche indicating the direction of Mecca) and the minbar (pulpit). Inscriptions in Pashtu were first used under Habibullah, but this practice was standardized in 1950. 

The afghani was redenominated at two distinct rates: money issued under the government of former President Rabbani was replaced at a rate of 1,000 to 1 new afghani while money issued in Dostum was replaced at a rate of 2,000 to 1 new afghani. In April 2005, coins were introduced in denominations of 1 afghani, 2 afghanis, and 5 afghanis.

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