The official currency of Afghanistan is the Afghan Afghani and is abbreviated as AFN.
So if you hear someone ask for 100 Afghanis, they’re not asking for 100 Afghani people.
The name Afghani was first used in 1925, replacing the Afghan Rupee. The current issue was introduced in 2002 after the US invasion and replaced the two separate Afghanis then in circulation. One issued by the central government and one by the then warlord General Dostum.
Currency of Afghanistan – Notes in circulation
The current notes in circulation in Afghanistan are the 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 Afghani notes, although the lower denominations also have coins in circulation of the same value and are therefore much less common.
The 1000 note can be quite annoying. Despite only being worth roughly USD$13, many shops will not have change or be able to break a note of this size.
Currency of Afghanistan – Coins in circulation
As the exchange rate is between 75 and 80 Afghanis to a USD, you are unlikely to come across coins often. The current coins in circulation are 1, 2 and 5 Afghanis.
The most common and reliable way to get your hands on some Afghan Afghanis is to go to an exchange shop. These are all over Kabul, as well as at Kabul airport. The smaller cities such as Mazar-e-sharif and Herat also have a large number of money changing options.
One particular facet of changing money in Afghanistan is that different sized foreign notes and condition will receive different rates. A $100 note will receive a better exchange rate than any other notes for example – the higher the note, the better the rate.
Most major currencies such as Euros, Pounds, Australian Dollars, Canadian Dollars, AED, RMB are able to be changed, however USD is always the best bet as it will always be accepted.
Most accommodation will also be more than happy to help you exchange money.
Exchange Rate of the Currency of Afghanistan
The current exchange rate (2020) is 77 AFN to 1 USD. The current trend has been to hover between 75 and 80 Afghanis to the US dollar.
Can you use foreign currencies in Afghanistan?
The short answer is no. Most restaurants, cafes, supermarkets or small shops will not want foreign currencies. When buying more expensive items such as carpets, many will be willing to accept USD or Euros, however most other currencies wouldn’t be acceptable. The same applies to hotels, who would also be willing to accept foreign currencies.
Are there ATMs in Afghanistan?
Yes, there are ATMs, however do not expect to rely on them. Very often the ATMs will not being working. A less common occurrence, but still likely is that they do not have any money in them and the most common scenario is that your card does not work. Banks really don’t like Afghanistan popping up on their customers’ accounts and more often than not the transaction doesn’t work or the transaction takes place but then the account is frozen.