The landlocked country of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan spans at the intersections of Central and South Asia, surrounded by Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and China. This country is about 652,000 square kilometers and is covered with mountainous terrains and plains, and is home to around 32 million people.
Because of its poor physical geography and location, political instability, and conflicts, Afghanistan is among the least developed countries in the world. Its economic situation worsened during the Taliban regime, where there were a number of incidents of human rights violations, abuses, kidnapping, torturing, and killing of ordinary citizens. The majority of the nation’s population suffer from lack of shelter, insufficient supply of electricity, clean water, health care, and very low employment rate. Weak administration, high crime rate, and inability of the government to execute rule of law to other areas of the country are some of the causes that delay Afghanistan’s economic growth.
The rise of the nation’s service industry, the recovery of its agricultural zone, and with the help of international organizations that pledged over $67 billion, the country has slowly regained its economic status following the collapse of the Taliban rule.
Afghanistan uses the Afghan Afghani or the AFN for its legal tender. It was first introduced in 1925, replacing the Afghan rupee. The first banknotes were issued by the Afghan Treasury between 1925 and 1928 in 5, 10, 50 afghanis. These notes featured the coat of arms of King Amanullah on the front design and guilloches on the other side. In 1936, denominations of 2, 20, and 100 afghani paper bills were added.
In 1939, The Afghanistan Bank was formed and took over the production of banknotes. It released 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 afghani bills bearing a portrait of King Muhammad Zahir and the national emblem on their front side and a natural environment or a building on the back. Another banknote set was issued between 1948 and 1951 featuring King Muhammad Zahir’s new portrait.
Following the overthrow of Mohammed Zahir on July 17, 1973 by his first cousin Muhammad Daud who was the prime minister at the time, Daud became the first president of the Republic of Afghanistan. The bank issued banknotes designed by Stanley Doubtfire of Thomas De La Rue, with the new president’s portrait and the new coat of arms.
After President Muhammad Daud was killed in a military coup d’etat on April 28, 1978, a new family of notes was issued without his picture and a modified coat of arms. On January 2, 2003, the afghani was replaced with the new afghani, hence, new banknotes were introduced.
In 2002, new banknotes were introduced in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. However, in 2005, the 1, 2, and 5 bills were replaced by coins. These banknotes showcase Afghanistan’s mosques and mausoleums. Finally, between 2008 and 2016, recent paper bills were released with enhanced security features such as holographic stripes, registration devices, and windowed security threads. Cornerstones were also added on their watermark and embossing at the right obverse replaced the latent images.