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Constitutional Background

The current ICL edition is based on an unofficial translation of the constitutional text provided anonymously to the general public on the Afghaniyat Listserver.  That text is accompanied by the warning: "Please refer to Pashtu and Dari version for accuracy".  For the purpose of this edition, remaining red color highlighting for last minute changes has been omitted and paragraph numbers have been added.

The new constitution has been adopted by all 502 delegates of the Loya Jirga (Grand Council) on 3 Jan 2004.  Parliamentary elections are to follow during the same year.  Establishing the "Islamic Republic of Afghanistan", the Council decided for a presidential system with Islam acknowledged as the "sacred religion" (Article 2) and immutably protected (cf. Article 149).  Pashtu as well as Dari are chosen for official languages with Turkmen and Uzbek acknowledged as officially recognised languages in areas where they are spoken by a majority (Article 16).  Also, Shia law is applicable in personal matters wherever both parties are followers of the Shia sect (cf. Article 131).

The new bicameral parliament encompasses the "House of the People" (lower house, Wolesi Jirga) and the "House of the Elder" (upper house, Meshrano Jirga).  According to ICL guidelines, the chambers are named "House of Representatives" and "Senate" for the purpose of this edition.  Ministers are nominated by the President and confirmed by the House of Representatives; if a nominee has another citizenship besides the Afghani one, the parliament can veto his or her nomination.

Though generally strengthening the office of President Hamid Karzai, the constitution also adds two (instead of one) Vice Presidents to balance that power.

History and News

  • 26 Jan 2004: Constitution signed and promulgated by President Karzai.
  • 4 Jan 2004: All members of the Loya Jirga approve the New Constitution.
  • 14 Dec 2003: Loya Jirga of 502 delegates from across the country start its deliberation.
  • 5 Oct 2002: Appointment of committee to draft the new constitution to be adopted by a constitutional Loya Jirga (Grand Council) in 2003.
  • Dec 2001: Afghan representatives and foreign countries revived with modifications the 1964 constitution during the Petersberg conference in Bonn (Germany); Hamid Karzai is established as President by the conference.
  • 7 Oct 2001: Following the World Trade Center attack of 11 Sep, the United States military begins strikes against al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
  • 1979-1989: War with Soviet Union.
  • 1964: Constitution adopted.
  • 19 Aug 1919: Independence from the United Kingdom.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - November 15th, 2010 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.