Introducing CIC’s Afghanistan Constitutional Reform Resources Webpage

Afghanistan’s recent presidential elections have resulted in a historic undertaking: the country will reform its constitution in the next two years. To assist the process, CIC is sharing research papers commissioned during the previous drafting process in 2002. Here, CIC Director Barnett Rubin and Research Associate Said Sabir Ibrahimi explain the history and resources available on the : Afghanistan Constitutional Reform Resources Webpage.

In December 2001, after the fall of the Taliban regime, the international community, including the United Nations and the United States, supported the formation of a new interim government in Afghanistan. The skeleton of the new Afghan government was agreed in Bonn, Germany, among Afghan groups in the presence of international community under the chairmanship of the United Nations.

One of the provisions of the Bonn Conference was the drafting and ratification of a new Afghan Constitution through a Constitutional Loya Jirga, the great council, (CLJ). A constitutional commission appointed by the transitional government began the drafting process in 2002, and in January 2004 the Loya Jirga approved the text, which President Hamid Karzai promulgated by decree.

In the process, in cooperation with UNAMA, CIC’s Afghanistan Reconstruction Project, now Afghanistan-Pakistan Regional Project, commissioned academic research on issues identified by the constitutional commission. The project was funded by generous support of the governments of Canada and Norway, and the Open Society Institute. Subsequently, the essays were published in Dari, Pashto, and English in a booklet titled: “Afghanistan: Towards a New Constitution.”

After a contentious presidential election in 2014, the third held under the provisions of the constitution, a National Unity Government (NUG) was formed with the mediation of international friends of Afghanistan, including the UN and the U.S. The political agreement between the top two contenders, Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, resulted in Dr. Ghani becoming the president and Dr. Abdullah becoming the chief executive officer.

One of the articles of the NUG political pact requires holding a CLJ within two years to consider amending the constitution to create the office of executive prime minister. The government has not yet decided how the preparation for the CLJ will be carried out. Whenever an appropriate body is established, it will decide what kind of support and assistance would be most beneficial. In the interim, CIC is making available research papers and the 2003 Constitution booklet available to the public on our Afghanistan Constitutional Reform Resources page. All theses and arguments in the essays are of the authors and not of the CIC. Use of the material is permissible with proper citation of the authors and CIC.

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Oct 28, 2014
South Asia, Afghanistan