Legal system: The constitution was formally ratified by President Hamid Karzai on 26 January 2004. ?The legal system is a mix of customary, civil, and Islamic law. ? Sometimes, the different legal systems contradict each other. The lack of a solid overarching legal system and enforcement capacity, especially in terms of land rights and security, is a cause of Afghanistan’s high levels of corruption. ?
Political institutions: The executive is led by a president who is directly elected by absolute majority for a maximum of two five-year terms. The President appoints key roles in the government. The legislature is a bicameral National Assembly: the Meshrano Jirga (House of Elders), and the Wolesi Jirga (House of the People). The members of the House of the People must be at least 25 years old, are directly elected in proportion to the population of every province, and serve for five years. According to the constitution, two delegates from every province have to be women. For the House of the Elders, the candidates must be at least 35 years old. One-third of the “elders”, or senators, are appointed by the president, and serve a five-year mandate, one-third are selected by the provincial councils and serve for four years, and the final third are elected from local district councils, and their mandate lasts three years. 50% of presidential appointees must be women Afghanistan’s Judiciary is composed of the Stera Mahkama, which is the Supreme Court, appeal courts and the primary courts. The President appoints, with the approval of the House of the Elders, the nine members of the Supreme Court on a ten-year mandate. ?
Local government: Local government is structured in provinces, municipalities, districts and villages. Power is centralised and national ministries assign budgets and functions to the provincial governments, who are more accountable to the central government than to local populations. ?The walis, or provincial governors, are directly appointed by the President. Walis have large coordination, security, and development powers, and represent the President. Governors have some freedom in interpreting the responsibilities of their position, which has led to variation in administrative structures. Walis supervise the woluswals, the district governors, and District Community Councils, belonging to the Afghanistan Social Outreach Program (ASOP), where existing. ? ASOP was developed by USAID and the Afghan government, to provide a system of democratic governance at district level that operates according to culturally acceptable practices. ? The ASOP councils are formed and trained to meet daily and solve local disputes and conflicts, according to the habit and culture of the local population. They improve outreach and communication, and monitor development projects. At a local level, several villages and communities have parallel governance bodies, and this coexistence makes the decision-making structure unclear. ?
Elections: Electoral practices in Afghanistan are often still unfair and not transparent. In the 2009 presidential elections, European Union observers reported that 1.5 million of 2.66 million votes were questionable. In the parliamentary elections of September 2010, voter turnout was low and widespread fraud was reported. In the run-up to the presidential elections in 2014, several episodes of violence were reported, in particular involving the Taliban. The results of the 2014 elections were disputed: Abdullah Abdullah, one of the two main candidates, accused Ashraf Ghani of having manipulated over one million votes. A power-sharing agreement was ultimately signed, and Ghani became President and Abdullah Chief Executive Officer, a new role, instituted role by decree, and with functions resembling a Prime Minister role. ?
Security forces: The control of the country’s security was gradually handed over to Afghan forces at the end of 2014. ? The Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF), includes the Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Police, the Afghan Uniform Police, the Afghan Border Police and the Afghan Highway Police. It has approximately 173,000 personnel, including civilians working for the Ministry of Defence. ? This includes only around 860 women. ? An additional 154,000 police and other personnel work for the Ministry of Interior, and over 28,000 people are enrolled in the Afghan local police (ALP). ? Afghan security forces suffered a 59% increase in battlefield casualties in the first six months of 2015 compared to the period of the previous year. Several reports indicate that the ALP has killed civilians, and carried out rape, kidnapping, and other crimes. ? NATO allies and partners have pledged around USD 450 million per year, until the end of 2017, to the NATO-Afghan Army Trust Fund to train and equip national security forces. ?In 2011, the military expenditure of Afghanistan was estimated at 4.74% of GDP compared to the 3.2% of Pakistan and 2.6% of India in the same year. ?
Corruption: Corruption affects key sectors of Afghanistan’s governance, causing the country to rank 172 out of 174 in the 2014 Transparency International world corruption perceptions ranking. ? Corruption is reportedly accepted as part of daily life, and bribery is common to speed up procedures in public offices or in the legal system. Large amounts of foreign aid have been lost, governance has been damaged and investment deterred by corruption. Many Afghans have turned to militant groups that pledge to put a stop to it.? The opium economy is one of the main sources of corruption. ?
Freedom of expression: Freedom of expression is very poor. In 2007 the state promulgated a media law to define clear boundaries for freedom of press. While in Kabul media sources are much freer and more diversified, in rural areas low level of tolerance towards media independence and freedom are reported 64 attacks on journalists were recorded in 2012, 73 in 2013, 80 in 2014, and 63 in 2015. ?