Following a year-long drafting process, a series of
public meetings, and three weeks of debate by a government assembly,
the Islamic Transitional State of Afghanistan approved a new
constitution on January 4, 2004.
President Hamid Karzai signed it into law on January 26th.
government has been in place since June, 2002. Following the
September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by the terrorist
sheltered in Afghanistan, the U.S. and its allies launched a military
intervention that overthrew the governing Taliban regime. A subsequent
meeting in Bonn, Germany of major Afghan leaders and diaspora groups
in December of 2001 gave rise to the
Afghan Interim Authority, which in turn held a nationwide Loya
Jirga, or Grand Assembly, electing Karzai president.
The new constitution provides for a president elected directly to a
five-year term, two vice presidents, and a bicameral national
assembly. It divides the government into executive, legislative, and
judicial branches. While it does not specifically enshrine
or Islamic law, it states that no Afghan law “can be contrary to the
beliefs and provisions” of Islam.
Power will remain with the transitional government until presidential
elections are held. Originally scheduled for June 2004, many experts
predict that they will be delayed because a widespread lack of
security has slowed voter registration. National Assembly elections
will probably take place in 2005.
For more information on the country, please see our
Afghanistan national page.
For an in-depth review of the new constitution, see the Council on
|NEWS AND COMMENTARY
Afghanistan Constitution Becomes Law, CNN/Reuters, January
Afghanistan Constitution Editorial Roundup, Guardian,
January 7, 2004.
Afghanistan: Constitution Fails Women, Amnesty
International, November 26, 2003
- Fadel, Mohammad H., In the Name
of God: The Proposed Afghan Constitution Speaks of Religion but
Leaves the State in Charge, Legal Times, December 22, 2003.
- Roland Flamini,
Analysis: Afghan Constitution a Good Start, The Washington
Times/UPI, January 8, 2004.
- Nawabi, Mariam A., A Suitcase
Filled With Hope: Afghan-born D.C. Lawyer Helps Rebuild War-Torn
Country’s Legal System, Legal Times, August 4, 2003.
- Ilene R. Prusher,
Constitution Debuts, Christian Science Monitor, November 4,