Short for AF by Abbreviationfinder, Afghanistan is an Islamic republic led by a president with great powers. The elected parliament is divided because the members are not allowed to represent parties. Despite the president’s formally strong position, local leaders, often called warlords, have at least as much power in the provinces.
According to the 2004 constitution, Afghanistan is an Islamic republic and no laws may conflict with the values of Islam. The Supreme Court decides whether a bill is compatible with Islam. Non-Muslims are guaranteed the right to practice their religions.
- Countryaah: Total population and chart of Afghanistan for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
Afghanistan recognizes the international principles of human rights, with the same rights and obligations for men and women.
The executive is exercised by a president who is elected in direct elections and has two vice presidents at his side. The president is elected for five years and can be re-elected. The President is also Head of the Defense Force and Head of Government and, with the approval of Parliament, appoints other Ministers, Chancellors of Justice, the Governor of the Central Bank and certain Members of Parliament.
After the 2014 presidential election, a new post was created as “highest executive official”, in practice the equivalent of the prime minister. The post came as an emergency solution when the two candidates could not agree on the election results and after international pressure agreed to share power.
When the same situation occurred after the 2019 presidential election, the loser of the election, Abdullah Abdullah, instead was given the post of leader of the High Council for National Atonement, whose job is to lead future peace talks with the Taliban. Abdullah and the other members of the council took office in the government of Ghana.
Weak central power
Parliament has two chambers, the people’s chamber (wolesi jirga) and the elderly chamber (meshrano jirga) with 249 and 102 seats respectively (the number may vary). The members of the People’s Chamber are elected in direct elections for a five-year term. A quarter of the seats are reserved for women. The President appoints one-third of the members of the Chamber for a term of five years. At least half of these should be women. The other members are elected by local parishes for three or four years. The People’s Chamber can put ministers before national law.
Afghanistan is divided into 34 provinces. Each province is chaired by a government-appointed governor and since 2005 also has a people-elected governing council which, among other things, appoints members of the Chamber. One quarter of the members of the provincial councils must be women.
Occasionally, when decisions of crucial importance to the country must be made, a special council, called Loya Jirga, is convened, with representatives of the country’s clans, religious leaders and other trusted persons. Loya jirga has no constitutional function but has a strong position in the country’s traditions and is an important complement to the ordinary parliament.
The central government in Kabul has never had complete control over the entire country. Although the national sense is relatively strongly developed, most residents find it easier to identify with the village, clan, province, language group or religious group than with the state. Governments’ power has been dependent on their ability to cooperate with local leaders.
Political parties must not contradict the principles of Islam, advocate violence, stir up racist or religious contradictions, threaten the freedom and security of the individual, have links to armed movements or receive financial support from abroad. Since 2009, a party must be able to account for at least 10,000 members in order to register.
The party system has a weak foundation in Afghan tradition and is often seen as a symbol of the divide between clans, ethnic groups and religious groups that have dragged the country down to the abyss. The argument that the party system itself is a prerequisite for a functioning democracy has not won public hearing.
Formally, party lists are not allowed in the elections and no official party groups may appear in Parliament.
While the multi-faceted opposition in Parliament is largely handled by the government, it is a series of armed resistance groups that represent the real threat to the regime. The most important of these are the Taliban (see Modern History and Current Politics), which is also a loosely composed movement with several fairly independently acting forces with provincial roots. Several of the top Taliban leaders are gathered in the so-called Quetta Shuran in Pakistan. The so-called Haqqani network, which is active on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border, is considered to have links with both the Taliban and the al-Qaeda terror network. Since 2015, the Sunni extremist Islamic State (IS) is also present in Afghanistan and is launching attacks against both Shi’ite Muslims as well as government forces and Taliban.
Ghani: elections will be held in 2016
President Ghani promises that the postponed parliamentary and local elections will be held in 2016.
Hard fighting in Helmand
During two days of fighting in the southern province of Helmand, 90 soldiers are killed. According to the province’s deputy governor, Helmand is close to falling into the hands of the Taliban. The government of Kabul denies that the situation would be so serious.
Warlords form a party
Several prominent former warlords, former ministers and MPs form a new party called the Guardian Council for Afghanistan’s stability. Among the founders are Abdul Rasool Sayyaf, Yunus Qanooni and Ismail Khan.
Afghanistan becomes a WTO member
Afghanistan is approved as a member of the World Trade Organization.
Dozens of dead in Taliban attack on airport
At least 50 people are killed, most civilians, when a group of Taliban attacks the Kandahar airport, where NATO and the Afghan forces have a joint military base, the largest in southern Afghanistan.
The United States admits negligence and nonchalance
US commander in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, admits that the bombing of a Kunduz hospital (see October 2015) was largely due to carelessness and nonchalance, combined with misinterpreted technical data and deficiencies in communication between the Afghan and US forces.
ICC: Evidence of torture in Afghan prisons
Prosecutors from the International Criminal Court (ICC) believe they have evidence that foreign forces, including the United States, subjected Afghan prisoners to physical and mental abuse.
The US stays longer than planned
US President Obama admits that the Afghan defense is not yet strong enough to cope on its own and decides to slow down the US efforts.
The United States accidentally bombs hospitals
About 40 people (employees and patients) are killed when US fighters accidentally hit a hospital in the city of Kunduz. The hospital is run by the aid organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
The Taliban leave Kunduz
Afghan army unions are said to have entered the center of Kunduz and regained control of the most important districts. Struggles continue in the outskirts of the city, but a Taliban commander admits that the Islamists are conducting a “strategic retreat” from the city.
The Taliban occupy Kunduz
In a rapid surprise offensive on three fronts, the Taliban occupy most of the city of Kunduz in the northeast. It is the first time in the 14-year war that the Islamist movement has taken control of one of the country’s more important cities.
IS establishes itself in the country
The UN says in a report, supported by Afghan government sources, that the Islamic State (IS) is gaining a foothold in much of the country. Militants who say they are loyal to IS are, according to the sources, active in 25 of the country’s 34 provinces.
The death of the Taliban leader is for two years
The Taliban admit that leader Mulla Omar’s death was kept secret for two years so as not to risk fragmentation within the movement as long as the NATO forces were still in the country.
Split among the Taliban
The leadership election creates fragmentation within the Taliban movement, where several factions are dissatisfied with the election of Mansour. The head of the Taliban liaison office in Qatar resigns in protest against the leadership election.
The Taliban leader is reported to be dead
At the end of the month, intense rumors spread that the Taliban’s supreme leader Mohammad Omar is dead. Anonymous Taliban leaders firmly claim he died, according to some a couple of years ago. Government spokesmen claim the information is confirmed. Two Taliban commentators state that Aktar Mohammad Mansour has been elected new “emir”. Although Omar has been dead for as long as two years, the publication seems to bring contradictions within the loosely coherent movement to the surface. A new round of negotiations with the Afghan government, which was expected to begin within a few days, is slated for the future.
Talk to Taliban
Pakistani sources say that representatives of the Afghan Peace Council and Taliban have held talks in Pakistan and agreed to continue the talks.
Hardly agreed on Defense Minister
Parliament says no to the President’s latest nomination for Minister of Defense. The first candidate was rejected in January. As a result, Afghanistan has been without a defense minister for more than nine months.
Lowered penalty for lynching a woman
An appeals court in Kabul mitigates the punishment of the four men sentenced to death for lynching a woman to death after being falsely accused of violating the Qur’an (see March 2015 and May 2015). Three of the men now receive 20 years in prison and the fourth receive 10 years. The new trial takes place behind closed doors and is criticized by the woman’s relatives as well as by a number of MPs and human rights activists, who accuse the court of having bowed to the pressure of the conservative religious establishment.
The parliamentary elections are postponed
President Ghani extends parliamentary term until new elections can be held. Otherwise, the Constitution would have dissolved on 22 June.
Officers sentenced for inaction
Eleven police officers are sentenced to one year in prison for failing to intervene in the abortion of a woman in Kabul (see March 2015). Eight police officers are released for lack of evidence.
Many dead in fighting in Kunduz
One week into May, 190 Taliban and 20 government soldiers are reported to have been killed in Kunduz in the north since the Taliban launched their “spring offensive” in late April. About 10,000 families are said to have moved from their homes in the province.
Death sentences for lynching
Four men are sentenced to death for lynching a woman to death in Kabul (see March 2015). The judgments are seen as an important step in the development of the Afghan judiciary, since women’s legal security is usually low.
Hard fighting in Kunduz
More than 30 people are killed in fighting between the army and Taliban on the outskirts of the city of Kunduz in the north. The city is described as threatened after hundreds of Taliban attacked police stations and army posts in the outer areas.
Dozens of dead in suicide
Thirty-three people are killed and about 100 injured in a suicide attack outside a bank in Jalalabad, where people queue up to get their monthly salaries. The Taliban are distancing themselves from the act. According to President Ghani, the Islamic State (IS) has taken on the attack.
Most ministers are appointed
The man nominated as Minister of Defense, a former communist general, resigns the assignment with reference to his candidacy causing political strife. A few days later, however, Parliament approves 16 others nominated, so that 24 of 25 ministerial posts are appointed. The government contains four female ministers.
Woman lynched by crowd
A woman is lynched to death by a mob after she was falsely accused of burning a copy of the Qur’an. She is killed in the middle of central Kabul, after which her body is burned and thrown into the river.
Defense contracts are reviewed
President Ghani is tearing up a $ 280 million contract to supply fuel to the defense after suspicions of procurement cheating arose. Ghani orders a review of all contracts for supplies of equipment to the military.
Shia Muslims are robbed
Thirty Shi’ite Muslim hazards are being robbed in the southern province of Zabul. They travel in two buses that are stopped by unknown armed men. Women and children are left behind.
Substantial increase in civilian casualties
According to the UN, the number of civilian casualties for the conflicts in the country increased by 25 percent from 2013 to 2014. In 2014, 3,699 civilians were killed. Nearly 7,000 civilians were injured.
Offensive against the Taliban
The army and the police launch a joint offensive against the Taliban in the province of Helmand. It is described as the first major action against the Islamist militia, which is entirely planned and implemented without foreign support.
Local IS leader is killed
Afghan sources say that Abdul Rauf, designated as the leader of Afghanistan for the Islamic State, has been killed along with five other people in a drone attack in the province of Helmand.
Parliament, noble ministers
Refuses to approve seven nominated ministers of dual citizenship; A week later, Parliament rejects ten of the 18 proposed ministers who will vote.
IS recruits members
Afghan sources claim that the Islamic State (IS) is trying to establish itself in southern Afghanistan. A former Taliban commander named Mulla Abdul Rauf is reportedly recruiting supporters in the province of Helmand.
Proposals for Ministers
More than three months after taking office, President Ghani is submitting a ministerial list of 25 names. Three of the 25 are women. Every individual minister must be approved by Parliament.
More terror attacks after foreign departure
After the retreat of the NATO forces, the number of terrorist attacks is increasing in different places. The political stalemate in the country, which lacks government more than three months after President Ghani took office, is partly to blame for the troubled situation.