Country Information


The afghani, denoted by AFA, is the official currency
used in Afghanistan. Behind the afghani lies a history characterized by a lack of standardization and currency revaluation. Prior to the United States invasion of Afghanistan, political parties, foreign powers and forgers each made their own afghanis; the key attribute of this currency, at the time, was that there was essentially no standardization as afghanis were made without honoring serial numbers. (For example, after the Northern Alliance lost its power in 1996, banknotes were produced in Russia and sold on Kabul's markets at half the value!)

In early 2003, a three-month transition period ended in the swapping of old afghani banknotes for new currency. The new afghani received the code AFN, and had three zeros eliminated.

As soon as October hit, Anwar Ul-Haq Ahadi, Governor of the Afghan Central Bank, announced that Afghans should use their own currency for daily transactions instead of the commonly utilized US dollars and Pakistani rupees. This move was in preparation for October 8, 2003, when all prices in the Afghan marketplace were to be specified in afghanis.

Sovereign Ratings for Afghanistan

Afghanistan is not rated.

What does it look like?

Political Structure

Based on its 2004 constitution, Afghanistan is run by a president who is directly elected by the popular vote to serve a five-year term. To qualify for standing, a presidential candidate must be at least forty years of age, Muslim, and an Afghan citizen. Limited to two terms, the president serves as head of state and government as well as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president makes appointments for his cabinet as well as posts in the military, police force, and provincial governorships (all with the approval of the parliament). There are also two vice presidents.

Afghanistan's legislative body is a parliament consisting of two houses: the Wolesi Jirga, the House of the People, and the Meshrano Jirga, House of Elders. The former is constituted by 250 members elected to five-year terms directly by the people, in proportion to the population of each province; a requirement of two women from each province has been instituted. In the Meshrano Jirga, one third of the members are elected by provincial councils for four years, on third are elected by district councils of each province for three years, and one third are appointed by the president for five years?of which a half of the elected positions must be women.

Finally, the Stera Mahkama, the Supreme Court, constitutes Afghanistan's judicial system. The Stera Mahkama is made up of nine judges appointed by the president to a ten-year term, with approval of the parliament. Judges must be at least forty years of age, have a degree in law or Islamic jurisprudence, and stand free of any affiliation to a political party. The appeals courts and lower district courts are also vital to the country's judicial system.

  • Prominent Figures President: Hamid Karzai, first ever democratically elected head of state in Afghanistan
  • Foreign Minister: Abdullah Abdullah
  • Finance Minister / Governor of Afghan Central Bank: Anwar Ul-Haq Ahady
  • Defense Minister: Abdul Rahim Wardak

Key Economic Factors Economic Overview

Afghanistan is an extremely poor, landlocked country with a high economic dependence on foreign aid, farming, and trade with bordering countries. A large proportion of the nation suffers from a lack of housing, clean water, electricity, access to medical care, and employment, providing for an extremely bleak environment nationwide. Despite this dark picture, however, Afghanistan is largely convalescing. From a developmental standpoint, the government and international donors are extremely committed to improvements in infrastructure development, education, housing development, and job programs. From an economic perspective, the recent years' infusion of over $2B in international assistance has allowed for dramatic improvements in agricultural production and the end of a four year drought in most of the country. Economic reform is well on its way.

  • Industries: Small-scale production of textiles, soap, furniture, shoes, fertilizer, cement, hand-woven carpets, natural gas, coal, and copper.
  • Agricultural Products: Opium, wheat, fruits, nuts, wool, mutton, sheepskins, and lambskins.
  • Export Commodities: Opium, fruits and nuts, hand-woven carpets, wool, cotton, hides and pelts, precious and semi-precious gems.
  • Import Commodities: Capital goods, food, textiles, petroleum products.

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