Afghan Law, in General


This section lists references that encompass several areas of Afghan law. Since these references cover a broader survey of Afghan law, they necessarily go into less depth. Thus, they provide ideal introductions to the Afghan legal system.

This section focuses upon current law. For Afghan legal history, see section 3 of this bibliography.

Although the online directories and collections listed in this section include laws written prior to the formation of the current Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, many of those laws retain some authority. After the Taliban regime was overthrown in 2001, an Interim Authority was established. Afghanistan’s legal framework under the Interim Authority was established in part II of the Agreement on Provisional Arrangements in Afghanistan Pending the Re-Establishment of Permanent Government Institutions (also known as the “Bonn Agreement”). Part II of the agreement declared that the Constitution of 1964 would be applicable, with some exceptions, and that

“existing laws and regulations, to the extent that they are not inconsistent with [the Bonn Agreement] or with international legal obligations to which Afghanistan is a party, or with those applicable provisions contained in the Constitution of 1964, provided that the Interim Authority shall have the power to repeal or amend those laws and regulations.”

The Constitution of 2004 now governs the legal framework, rather than the 1964 Constitution. But, prior laws remain in effect until they are repealed, so long as they are not inconsistent with the Constitution of 2004 or international obligations. Books and articles listed in this section help to explain this in greater detail and to familiarize the reader with the fundamentals of the current Afghan legal system.

1. Online Directories and Collections

2. Books

3. Articles

Online Directories and Collections

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Afghan Legal Info. Inst., Afghan Laws, Mar. 31, 2008,
Online database of Afghan statutes. Browse laws chronologically or alphabetically.

Checchi & Co. Consulting, Inc., Afghanistan Legal Documents Exchange Center, Nov. 5, 2011,
Library of Afghan legal documents, in English, Dari, and Pashto.

Lexadin, World Law Guide – Afghanistan, Jan. 1, 2011,
Directory of Afghan legal documents, organized by topic.

NYU Libraries, Afghanistan Digital Library,
Online collection of scanned images of documents, including many primary source documents in Dari, such as the Asas al-Quzat (Fundamentals for Judges) and earlier constitutions.

Omar Sial & Md. Ershadul Karim, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Legal System and Research, N.Y.U. L., Hauser Global L. Sch. Prog.,
Webpage summarizing the broad contours of the Afghan government and legal system. At the bottom of the page, provides links to dozens of Afghan government ministry websites and related resources.


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Afg. Legal Educ. Prog, Stan. L. Sch., An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan (3rd ed., 2011), available at
English-language textbook, created at Stanford Law School, to serve as the foundation for teaching Afghan law students about the Afghan legal system.

Afg. Legal Educ. Prog, Stan. L. Sch., An Introduction to the Law of Afghanistan – Statutory Supplement (2nd ed., 2011), available at
Supplementary materials for the textbook above.

Bar Human Rights Comm. of Eng. and Wales, Manual on Rule of Law: Afghanistan (2006), available at
Training manual for students and practitioners learning the basic procedures of the Afghan legal system.

Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Law in Afghanistan (E. J. Brill 1985), available at
Overview of the Afghan legal system, as it existed prior to the overthrow of Najibullah and the rise of the Taliban.


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Hatem Elliesie, Rule of Law in Afghanistan, in Understanding of the Rule of Law in various Legal Orders of the World (Koetter & Schuppert, eds., 2009), available at fu-berlin.du.
Overview of the current Afghan legal system.

William Maley, Democratic Governance and Post-Conflict Transitions, 6 Chi. J. Int’l L. 683 (2006).
Discussion of the framework within which Afghan reconstruction is proceeding, with comparisons to other countries in conflict or in post-conflict conditions.

Laurel Miller and Robert Perito, Establishing the Rule of Law in Afghanistan, United States Institute of Peace: Special Report 117 (2004), available at
Overview of the challenges that (in 2004) lay ahead for reconstructing the Afghan legal system.

Neamat Nojumi, Dyan Mazurana & Elizabeth Stites, Afghanistan’s Systems of Justice: Formal, Traditional, and Customary (Tufts University, Jun. 2004), available at
Overview of the three major legal traditions in Afghanistan.

Ali Wardak, Rule of Law in Afghanistan: An Overview, in Petersberg Papers on Afghanistan (Danspeckgruber ed., 2009), available at
Overview of challenges and issues involved in building the Afghan legal system.