|Kabul: 9:50 AM      |
Welcome to Kabul:Reconstructions. You can follow the information below, which has been gathered from a
number of sources by a number of participants (click on the names at left for bios), to reconstruct your
own picture of events in Kabul since this site was launched on March 8th, 2003 and, in a sense, since the
reconstruction of Afghanistan began somewhere in the winter of 2001-02.
Some of this information has been provided in response to specific questions submitted by visitors like you. Please note that this section of the project is now maintained as an archive and has not been updated since 2005. Click here to ASK A QUESTION.
Arian Mouj Sharifi
New constitution must strike delicate balance (AP)
Afghan constitution to be unveiled By DANIEL COONEY The Associated Press KABUL, Afghanistan — A new constitution to be put forward soon for ratification declares Afghanistan a Muslim state but stops short of imposing Islamic Shariah law, a contentious issue in this conservative nation, an Afghan official said Sunday. As they draw up a constitution aimed at unifying the fragmented nation, conservatives and secularists have been hotly debating how to enshrine Islam into law after years under the Taliban, who enforced a harsh version of Shariah that some Afghans recall with horror but others support. The hard-line Taliban banned women from working, barred girls from school and ordered men to grow their beards long and pray five times a day, as well as carrying out executions and amputations for some crimes. Ratifying a constitution is crucial for Afghanistan as it lays the foundations for its first democratic elections in decades, scheduled for June. The rebuilders of Afghanistan hope that vote will be a cornerstone for political stability after 23 years of war. A 10-day meeting of a 500-member loya jirga, or grand council, will debate and ratify the constitution. The gathering was pushed back by two months to December after President Hamid Karzai demanded more time to finish the document. After 11 months of work by dozens of constitutional experts and three months of public consultations in which 150,000 people submitted suggestions, a draft will likely be released this week. The question of Shariah has been “a huge struggle” in the work on the constitution, said an official involved in the drafting. “So far, the focus has been on trying to find a consensus,” the official said on condition on anonymity. But, he said, “a balance has been found.” The document’s preamble declares, “Afghanistan is an Islamic state” and says its laws must be in accordance with Islam, but it does not impose Shariah, the official said. The Taliban, who ruled most of the country from 1996 to 2001, ignored the former constitution and imposed their interpretation of Shariah. After their removal, an interim administration was established and Shariah was dropped. Some in Afghanistan support the version of Shariah imposed by the Taliban, others argue that Islamic law should be the law of the land — even if it’s not the interpretation practiced by the Taliban. Other contentious issues include ensuring women have rights equal to men in a society where they have long been discriminated against; and which of Afghanistan’s many ethnic languages will be made the national one. Karzai has been given a draft of the constitution for review and will release it to the public “in the next few days,” Constitutional Review Commission spokesman Abdul Ghafoor Lewal said. He declined to comment on the content of the document. Another official said it would be released Thursday or Friday, after Karzai returns from an overseas trip. Karzai’s administration has little authority outside of the capital, Kabul, and many initiatives to expand his power have failed because of opposition from the warlords, who believe their authority will be undermined by a strong national constitution. Many warlords have private militias and rule their territory as if they are fiefdoms.
Posted By: mariam   September 30th 2003, 2003 1:58 PM
Kabul: Partial Reconstructions is an installation
and public dialogue project that explores the multiple meanings and resonances of
the idea of reconstruction -- as both process and metaphor -- in the context of present-day Kabul.
www.kabul-reconstructions.net is an online discussion forum, information resource, and medium for the communication of questions and answers about the reconstruction between people inside and outside the city of Kabul itself.