|Kabul: 12:30 PM      |
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
Scenes from Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah's recent US visit (NPR, CEIP)
National Public Radio (NPR)- SHOW: All Things Considered November 13, 2003 (9:00 PM ET) Abdullah Abdullah discusses Afghanistan's draft constitution and steps it is taking toward democracy MELISSA BLOCK, host: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. MICHELE NORRIS, host: And I'm Michele Norris. As the United States tries to speed up the transfer of power in Iraq, American operations in Afghanistan have reached a milestone. Two years ago today, the Taliban had fled Kabul, clearing the way for US and Northern Alliance forces to move in. BLOCK: There is still fighting in many parts of Afghanistan, but the country is taking steps toward democracy. Thousands of copies of a draft constitution are being circulated throughout the country, often by donkey. The constitution will be debated, then voted on at a traditional council, or Loya Jirga. NORRIS: To find out more about the constitution and the country's burgeoning democracy, we're joined by Afghanistan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah. Thank you so much for being with us. Dr. ABDULLAH ABDULLAH (Foreign Minister, Afghanistan): You're welcome. NORRIS: Dr. Abdullah, could you give us a brief description of the government structure under this new constitution? Dr. ABDULLAH: It will be a presidential system with a bicameral parliament, a senate and a congress. Hopefully, the elections for the presidency will be held June 2004. NORRIS: And the extent of the president's powers? Dr. ABDULLAH: Of course, there is a balance between what the president can do in the parliament, but it is a strong presidential system, I could call it. NORRIS: A commander of the military will address that? Dr. ABDULLAH: The commander of the military; he appoints the ministers, he dismisses the ministers and he takes major decisions, of course. NORRIS: The draft constitution calls for civil law that is in keeping with Islamic principles, a concept that causes some discomfort among the village clerics. Is this a case where foreign governments are pushing Afghanistan further along the road to democracy than the country is perhaps willing to go? Dr. ABDULLAH: I think the country is quite willing to go. It is not something which will be imposed upon the people. What we found out during consultations with the people, when the main issues in the constitution were being consulted with the people, while the people wanted to see respect and full respect for Islamic values and traditions and culture at the same time as far as democratic principles concerned. They were asking for it. So it shows how Islamic values are compatible with democratic spirit and democratic essence. But nevertheless, there are forces who are against the process as a whole, extremist elements which are of a different agenda. They will not be happy, they will try to create problems. But as far as the people of Afghanistan is concerned, some of these democratic institutions already existed in the sort of traditional Afghan society like shuras, or councils. So some of these things are--now will be a part of the future life of the Afghan people and the constitution will facilitate it. NORRIS: And the role of women under this constitution? Dr. ABDULLAH: It has provisioned equal rights for men and women in Afghanistan. NORRIS: And what does that mean? How is that specifically spelled out? Dr. ABDULLAH: They have their rights, their fundamental rights, the rights of political activities, the rights for voting and for holding property and so on and so forth, everything. At that level, it is equal. NORRIS: Does it guarantee the participation of women in the government? Dr. ABDULLAH: Of course. Of course. Not only guarantees, but also it promotes it. NORRIS: Feuding warlords still control large swaths of the country, and because of that, President Hamid Karzai has had somewhat limited authority beyond the capital. Will this constitution actually change that? Dr. ABDULLAH: I think in that sense as well I may have to clear it a little bit. What is happening--it's not that the government, the central government, doesn't have the political authority in different parts of the country. It is rather the capacity to deliver, the instruments which are needed in order to integrate itself in those parts. For example, talking about security situation--we have only a few thousand national police force being trained in the past two years' time. So that limits the capacity of the government as far as security situation is concerned. But major decisions taken by the central government has been implemented without opposition--perhaps not with total satisfaction by every single person, but without opposition or without making any obstacles towards it. So it is rather the instruments which is needed in order to rule different parts of the country and to integrate the government in different parts which are concerned then the political authority. NORRIS: Dr. Abdullah, one last question. If you look into the future, five years from now, will Afghanistan be the one shining example of democracy in the Muslim world? Dr. ABDULLAH: It should be and it has the potential to be so. Then it depends on different factors, including the continuation of support from the international community to help a nation to move from within the ditch to our situation, which not only its people are enjoying living together and working together, but it also can contribute to world peace and democracy. NORRIS: Thank you so much for coming into speak with us. Dr. ABDULLAH: You're welcome. NORRIS: Afghanistan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, speaking to us about his country's draft constitution.
Speech of Dr. Abdullah, Foreign Minister of Afganistan
at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Dr. Abdullah discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and
answered questions from participants.
Click link below for transcript or to listen to audio.
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.