Even Afghans occasionally need financial services that would normally fall to monetary institutions – most often the necessity to exchange foreign funds, U.S. dollars (the country is awash in those) and rupees and dinars for the national currency. So they come here, to the currency market, and avail themselves of the services offered by money changers.
A strange breed, they are rather like carny men or casino pit bosses, congregating in clots atop scrap heaps or sitting at tables heaped with cash, noisily and with flourish tending to the world-all-over business of cash on the dollar. Fifty-two Afghanis to the U.S. dollar is the standard rate and, surprisingly – tellingly – that rate hasn't changed for many months.
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