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Title: Afghan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Mohammad Gul Khan Momand, Babi Dynasty, Afghans in India, History of Afghanistan, April 2014
Collection: Afghan People
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Afghan (Pashto also GujariPersian: افغان; see etymology) refers to something from Afghanistan, particularly a citizen of that country. Prior to this definition, it was used by Persian speakers and those influenced by the Persian language to denote the Pashtun people. In modern times, "Afghan" is rarely used as an ethnic term for the Pashtuns but is rather used as the national demonym for all citizens of Afghanistan—Pashtuns, Tajiks, and also a large number of Hazaras, Uzbeks, Aimaqs, Turkmens, Balochs, Nuristanis, Pashayis, Pamiris, Arabs, Brahui, Jat, Gurjar, and others.

According to the Encyclopædia Iranica, the word Afghan (afḡān) in current political usage means any citizen of Afghanistan, regardless of their tribal or religious affiliation.[1] According to the 1964 Constitution of Afghanistan, all Afghans are equal in rights and obligations before the law.[2] The fourth article of the current Constitution of Afghanistan states that citizens of Afghanistan consist of Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Aymaq, Arab, Baluch, Pashayi, Nuristani, Qezelbash, Gujjars, Brahui, and members of other tribes.[3]

As an adjective, the word Afghan also means "of or relating to Afghanistan or its people, language, or culture".


  • Afghan 1
  • Afghani 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


In Farsi language, the word 'Afghan' literally means whining, wailing, and bawling. The word also carries some negative connotations among non-Pashtuns. For instance, among Hazara, Tajik and Uzbek, the word ‘Afghan’ is metaphorically used to denote backwardness. Among ethnic Hazara, 'Afghan' attains its meaning through a semantic shift, as 'Awgho' and it is often used in the households to scare the children for obedience. Historically, Hazaras have suffered at the hands of Pashtuns, and in their literature, Pashtuns are psychologically portrayed as evil, terror, savage, oppressor, and uncivilized people. This kind of portrayal has also shared among Uzbeks, Tajiks and Turkmen. Similarly, in northern Afghanistan among non-Pashtuns, the word 'Afghan' has also experienced a semantic change, which is 'Awghan,' and both metonymically and metaphorically used as a swear word to shame someone for wrongdoing and in contemptuous way it means representing someone as an object of ridicule.[4]


The term "Afghani" refers to the unit of Afghan currency. It is often improperly used for a person or thing related to Afghanistan.[5] The incorrect use of the term may have originated during the Soviet war in Afghanistan when millions of Afghans took refuge in neighboring Pakistan and Iran. The Afghani was created in 1925. Between 1925 and 1993 varieties of Afghani coins and banknotes were in circulation through Afghanistan. Coins issued during this period consisted of: 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, 25 pul in bronze, brass, copper nickel, and aluminum-bronze; silver ½, 1, and 2½ Afghani; and gold ½, 1, and 2½ amani. Banknotes issued were in: 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000, and 10,000 Afghani. In 1958 bank notes worth 2 and 5 were switched with coins.[6]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ What do we know about the word ‘Afghan’ and who is called Afghan? September 7, 2015.
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links

Afghan News

What do we know about the word ‘Afghan’ and who is called Afghan? September 7, 2015.

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