Afghanistan Government and Public Policy

By | December 16, 2021

Constitution, administration, justice. – The Afghan Constitution was promulgated in 1921 (summary in the Modern East, IV, 1924 p. 196). The state is administered by a council of ministers chosen by the king and chaired by him or the prime minister. There are six ministries: War and Transport, Foreign Affairs, Education (which includes post office and hygiene administrations), Justice and Police, Finance, Commerce and Agriculture.

The Council of State, whose president is a member of the Council of Ministers, consists of three departments: the first studies and applies reforms, the second presides over the administration, the third over the judiciary. Its members (one per province) are partly chosen by the government from among the magistrates and senior officers, partly by the citizens by means of elections of three degrees. It is up to it to interpret the constitution. For Afghanistan government and politics, please check

The Advisory Council (or Girga, likewise made up of elected and appointed members) is charged with making proposals to the ministries and the Council of State to advance the country in all fields. Until special regulations have been drawn up, matters of public interest are dealt with in accordance with Muslim law. The judicial organization includes peace courts (recently established), courts of first instance (ma ḥā kimi ibtid āiyyah), appellate courts (ma ḥā kimi mur ā faah), and the Court of Cassation. The first three are found in the provincial capitals, the Cassation in Kābul. There are also military courts, and a High Court, appointed by royal decree. Courts judge according to Muslim law and customary laws. The trials are public and the courts are safe from any interference.

Other provisions of the Afghan Constitution are the following. Islam is the official religion, the other communities are protected by the state. All the residents of Afghānistān are equal before the law and enjoy personal freedom; property and domicile are inviolable. Education is free, but foreigners cannot open schools, and all schools are inspected by the state. Taxes are met according to the law, and a budget must be drawn up every year.

The Afghan constitution, as we can see, grants citizens a very limited elective representation, which, however, corresponds sufficiently to their maturity, even if it does not exceed it. This constitution is the product of a transitional period between the sceria and a modern (Turkish) type of legislation being drawn up; it is not possible to have an exact idea of ​​it due to a lack of documents, nor is it easy to ascertain to what extent the new regulations are actually applied. In 1928 a new National Assembly (sh ū rà- ī mill ī) of 150 members was established, on which see Oriente Moderno, VIII, p. 412 and 480.

Afghānistān has legations in the following states, represented in Kābul: England, Italy, France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Persia. There is an Afghan consul general in Delhi, consuls in Karācī, Bombay and Peshāwar. England has consulates in Gelālābād and Qandahār. There are Afghan consulates in Tāshkent and Merw, and Russian consulates in Herāt and Mazār-i Sherīf.

The national Afghan flag (replaced in 1928 to that of the ruling tribe), is red, green and black, with the inscription All ā h Mohammed, and the figures of the sun, mountains and spikes (see Modern Orient, VIII, p. 480).

Armed Forces. Military service is compulsory, on the basis of one conscript every eight men aged 20 to 50, who passes to the reserve after three years. According to official Afghan reports, the troops in peacetime are 60,000 infantry and 16,000 men between cavalry and artillery, with 400 guns. An army corps is based in Kābul and is made up of seven infantry divisions and a cavalry division. The pay of the troops is 14 rupees (20 in wartime). Aviation comprises 30 units; it was organized by the Russians, who supplied aircraft and welcomed young Afghans into their aviation schools. In 1928 twenty-five Afghan students attended the Aeronautical Academy of Caserta.

In wartime Afghānistān has 350,000 reserve men, some armed with modern rifles, some with old stone guns, and well-armed tribes.

The military school of Kābul was reorganized after 1905 by a Turkish military mission. His work met with resistance in the antiquated ideas of the Afghan high command, but the modernization of the army is now ensured by the numerous Afghan officers who go to Turkey to educate themselves and serve, and those studying in France (St. Cyr) and in Germany.

Finances. – Afghānistān has no public debt. State revenues are subject to considerable fluctuations; the Statesman’s Year Book says that the government share represents 1 / 3 to 1 / 10 of income, according to the crops. The total income is estimated at around 50 million rupees (mostly from customs).

The 1920 tariff (text in ‛ Abd alGh ā n ī, p. 285) exempts only the Korans, weapons and war material from duty, places duties of 100% on luxury items, and of 40, 25, 20, 15, 5, 2 and 1% on imports, in proportion to their utility. Export duties never exceed 80%, goods in transit pay between 20 and 2% and internal duties are 5%.

There are still no banks, because the Muslim religion forbids the placing of money at interest; however, there is a project for a national agricultural and commercial credit bank. Until now Afghānistān has never taken out loans abroad or given economic concessions to foreigners. An American company appears to have obtained (1928) an oil concession.

There are no significant reserves of capital, and the country’s development is slowed down, indeed severely hampered, by the lack of a financial base, which it would be politically dangerous to look for abroad.

Education. – Before 1920 education was limited in Afghānistān to primary schools run by the mull ā ; only in the capital there were two higher institutes: the Ḥabībiyyah school, named after the founder Emir Ḥabīb Ullāh (1901-1919), and the Military school established in 1905. They then had 2-300 pupils each. Today, according to official Afghan news, there are 14 secondary schools in the capital, two military, three girls, with 2000 pupils, normal school, engineering, European languages, for officials, Amāniyyah (with French teachers), Amānī (with German teachers), school of q ā ḍ ī, high school of Arabic sciences, modern high school.

Education, except in the two European-type schools, is free, indeed, to attract misoneists, pupils, in addition to books, receive a monthly reward. Kābul, in addition to secondary schools, has 98 primary schools between the city and the province, two of which for girls, in the provinces of Gelālābād, Herāt, Khōst, Mazār-i Sherīf and Badakhshān there are 5 secondary schools; the primary ones are, throughout the country, 246; the total school population is 39,878.

Young Afghans studying in Europe (France, Germany, Russia, Italy) are several hundred. King Aman Ullāh proposed to separate the new generation from the previous one, replace the bureaucratic mentality for the feudal one, and train a technical staff corresponding to the new needs of the country. the first Afghan university should be built in the new capital of Dār al-Amān (v.). Public libraries exist in Kābul and in the summer capital of Paghmān.

In 1922 the French archaeologist Foucher concluded an agreement with the Afghan government which gave the French archaeological mission the exclusive right to carry out excavations throughout the Afghan territory for thirty years. With the financial contribution of the Afghan government, of the Académie des Inscriptions et BellesLettres and other French institutes, the mission carried out excavations at Balkh, Gelālābād, Paitava and Bāmyān, under the direction of archaeologists Foucher, Godard and Hackin. Half of the objects found are exhibited in the Louvre and the Musée Guimet in Paris, the remainder, plus some unique specimens, are kept in the Kābul Museum; these are important paintings and sculptures from the Greco-Buddhist period (v.). In addition to these objects, the Kābul Museum contains coins and manuscripts from various eras, wooden statues of the Kāfiristān, embroidery of Bukhārā, alabasters of Qandahār, collections of weapons, objects of lapis lazuli.

The press. – The first Afghan newspaper, K ā bul, came out in 1878 and lasted six months, suppressed by the English with the deposition of the Emir Shē ‛Alī. No others appeared until 1901, when the weekly Sir āǵ -i akhb ā r (“light of news”, with allusion to the epithet of Emir Ḥabīb Ullāh, Sir ā g almullah wa add ī was published in the capital n, “light of the Muslim community and of faith”). It lasted until 1919. From 1920 to 1928 the Am ā ni Afgh ā n was released in Kābul(“safety of the Afghāni”, with allusion to the name of King Amān Ullāh, “safety that comes from God”) unofficial, weekly, of 12 pages, printed with movable type. The official Ibl ā gh (communication) is a flying sheet posted by the government in bazaars and public places, which prints only laws and decrees. Numerous other newspapers are published in the main Afghan cities, mostly polygraphs and weeklies, all written in Persian. The press is free “under the law”; the foreign newspapers that arrive in large numbers in Afghānistān from India, Persia, Egypt, Turkey, Russia, and also from England and France are censored.

Afghanistan Government