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Politics of Afghanistan

Government As of 2002, Afghanistan is led by an interim government headed by Hamid Karzai.

The new government replaces the Taliban, which lost recognition from all other countries in the world except Pakistan after the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States. As of October 2001, only Pakistan recognized the Taliban government, though Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had in the past.

The Taliban had occupied 95% of the territory, called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The remaining 5% belonged to the rebel forces constituting the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, which the United Nations had recognized as the official government in exile.

conventional short form: Afghanistan
local long form: Dowlat-e Eslami-ye Afghanestan
local short form: Afghanestan
former: Kingdom of Afghanistan, Republic of Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Afghanistan

ISO 3166-1 country code: AF

Government type: no functioning central government, interim government

Capital: Kabul

Administrative divisions: 30 provinces (velayat, singular - velayat); Badakhshan, Badghis, Baghlan[?], Balkh[?], Bamian[?], Farah[?], Faryab[?], Ghazni[?], Ghowr[?], Helmand[?], Herat, Jowzjan[?], Kabol[?], Kandahar, Kapisa[?], Konar[?], Kondoz[?], Laghman[?], Lowgar[?], Nangarhar[?], Nimruz[?], Oruzgan[?], Paktia[?], Paktika[?], Parvan[?], Samangan[?], Sar-e Pol[?], Takhar[?], Vardak[?], Zabol[?] note: there may be two new provinces of Nurestan[?] (Nuristan[?]) and Khowst[?]

Independence: August 19, 1919 (from United Kingdom control over Afghan foreign affairs)

National holiday: Victory of the Muslim Nation, April 28; Remembrance Day for Martyrs and Disabled, May 4; Independence Day, 19 August

Constitution: none

Legal system: a new legal system has not been adopted but all factions tacitly agree they will follow Shari'a (Islamic law)

Suffrage: NA; previously males 15-50 years of age

Executive branch: on September 27, 1996, the ruling members of the Afghan Government were displaced by members of the Islamic Taliban movement; the Islamic State of Afghanistan has no functioning government at this time, and the country remains divided among fighting factions. Note: the Taliban have declared themselves the legitimate government of Afghanistan; however, the UN still recognizes the government of Burhanuddin Rabbani; the Organization of the Islamic Conference has left the Afghan seat vacant until the question of legitimacy can be resolved through negotiations among the warring factions; the country is essentially divided along ethnic lines; the Taliban controls the capital of Kabul and approximately two-thirds of the country including the predominately ethnic Pashtun areas in southern Afghanistan; opposing factions have their stronghold in the ethnically diverse north

Legislative branch: non-functioning as of June 1993

Judicial branch: upper courts were non-functioning as of March 1995 (local Shari'a or Islamic law courts are functioning throughout the country)

Political parties and leaders:

  • Afghan Mellat Party ( Afghan social democratic Party )based in Peshawar ,Pakistan [ Leader : Shams ul Huda shams ]
  • Harakat-i-Islami (Islamic Movement) [Mohammed Asif MOHSENI]
  • Harakat-Inqilab-i-Islami (Islamic Revolutionary Movement) [Mohammad Nabi MOHAMMADI]
  • Hizbi Islami-Gulbuddin (Islamic Party) [Gulbuddin HIKMATYAR faction]
  • Hizbi Islami-Khalis (Islamic Party) [Yunis KHALIS faction]
  • Hizbi Wahdat-Akbari faction (Islamic Unity Party) [Mohammad Akbar AKBARI]
  • Ittihad-i-Islami Barai Azadi Afghanistan (Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan) [Abdul Rasul SAYYAF]
  • Jabha-i-Najat-i-Milli Afghanistan (Afghanistan National Liberation Front) [Sibghatullah MOJADDEDI]
  • Mahaz-i-Milli-Islami (National Islamic Front) [Sayed Ahamad GAILANI]
  • Taliban (Religious Students Movement) [Mohammad OMAR]
  • United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan[?], comprised of
    • Jumbesh-i-Melli Islami (National Islamic Movement) [Abdul Rashid DOSTAM]
    • Jamiat-i-Islami (Islamic Society) [Burhanuddin RABBANI and Ahmad Shah MASOOD (died in Sep 2001)]
    • Hizbi Wahdat-Khalili faction (Islamic Unity Party) [Abdul Karim KHALILI]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Afghan refugees in Pakistan, Australia, the United States, and elsewhere have organized politically; Afghan Mellat Party(Afghan Social Democratic Party) [leader Shams Ul Huda Shams) presently based in Peshawar, Pakistan; Peshawar, Pakistan-based groups such as the Coordination Council for National Unity and Understanding in Afghanistan or CUNUA [Ishaq GAILANI]; tribal elders represent traditional Pashtun leadership; Writers Union of Free Afghanistan or WUFA [A. Rasul AMIN]

International organization participation: AsDB, CP, ECO[?], ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB[?], IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, IOC(suspended), IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW(signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO

Diplomatic representation in the US: none; note - embassy operations suspended 21 August 1997

consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US: the US embassy in Kabul has been closed since January 1989 due to security concerns

Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and black with a gold emblem centered on the three bands; the emblem features a temple-like structure with Islamic inscriptions above and below, encircled by a wreath on the left and right and by a bolder Islamic inscription above, all of which are encircled by two crossed scimitars. Note: the Taliban uses a plain white flag or a white flag with the shahada, see http://www.fotw.ca/flags/af

Reference Much of the material in this article comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.



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