Kabul Diaries Part 11: Afghans say no to trade in Pakistani currency

September 15, 2021
There are growing concerns over the Pakistan establishment's growing influence in Afghanistan.

Posted on September 13, 2021:

One of the achievements of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was the value of the Afghani [currency]. The value of the Afghani, especially against Pakistani rupees, was quite high over the past 20 years, and somehow it is considered as a sign of pride for many Afghans.

When the Taliban were ruling Afghanistan from 1996-2001, 1000 Afghani was [equivalent to] one Pakistani rupee, but after the establishment of the new government, the Pakistani rupee fell drastically against the Afghani. At the moment, 1000 Pakistani rupees is [valued at] 499 Afghanis.

Anger flared among Afghans as soon as the news came out that Afghanistan and Pakistan’s trade will be done in Pakistani rupees.

Saleem, a Twitter user, wrote: “It is our right to use our own currency in the dealings.”

A shopkeeper in Kabul, who didn’t want his identity to be revealed, said to me: “I will only use Afghan currency. If we use Pakistani rupee, then it means that we accept the Pakistani establishment’s involvement in Afghanistan.”

Abdul Baqi Wardak, a Facebook user, wrote: “If this is the decision of Pakistan, then as a doctor, I will not prescribe Pakistani medicine and I will not buy Pakistani products.”

Hayatullah Safi stated on Facebook: “A Proud Afghan will never accept Pakistani rupees. We should stand against it.”

Another resident of Kabul told me: “Pakistan can never impose its currency on us the way they imposed the Taliban, sooner or later, we will get rid of them both."

Marzia (not her real name), who is a doctor, told me: "Afghani is the last thing left for Afghans. They took away our democracy, destroyed our security forces, forced women to stay home, there is no freedom of speech, and now they want to replace Afghanis with Pakistani rupees. They want to break us. This is painful." 

Her sister, who also didn't want to be named, added: "The new imposed government wants to abolish everything and every achievement that Afghans were proud of." 

Some social media users have already started a trend promoting the Afghani as their national identity and they want other Afghans to join their cause.

[Jeddojehad (Struggle), a left-wing, online Urdu-language daily in Pakistan, is posting reports from Kabul. Filed by Yasmeen Afghan (not the author's real name), these reports depict the picture from inside Kabul and cover what is often ignored in the mainstream media. For a wider circulation, these reports are translated to English.]

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