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Afghan Report: April 10, 2003

10 April 2003, Volume 2, Number 13

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By Kimberly McCloud

On 3 April, Afghanistan was accepted as a Partner for Cooperation by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) at a meeting in Vienna. The Permanent Council of the OSCE made mention in its decision that Afghanistan shares common borders with three of the Central Asian members of the organization (Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan), and that Afghanistan is committed to the aim of implementing the principles, values and goals of the OSCE. The fundamental purpose of Afghanistan's new relationship to the OSCE, according to a press release issued on 4 April by the organization, is "to assist that country [in meeting]...the organization's standards and principles on democracy and security."

Afghanistan applied for membership to the 55-member organization in February 2003 and was formally recommended to the OSCE by Tajikistan's President Imomali Rakhmonov. Nine other states share the status of Partner for Cooperation, which entails participation in various OSCE activities and discussions but precludes voting rights within the organization. An OSCE spokesman, Richard Murphy, said Afghanistan will be invited to join almost all OSCE meetings, including summit meetings, meetings of foreign ministers, meetings on human rights and economic issues, as well as the annual security review conference.

Principles, Values, And Goals Of The OSCE

The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, later formalized as the OSCE, began initial consultations in 1973 and concluded the "Helsinki Final Act" in 1975, a document that paved the way for fostering security and cooperation between the rival Eastern and Western European blocs of the era. The three main areas of cooperation that were agreed upon included politico-military matters, economic issues and -- quite significantly -- the human dimension, including human rights.

The largest regional security organization in the world, the OSCE "is active in early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, and postconflict rehabilitation," according to its website. It takes a "comprehensive and cooperative" approach in addressing security issues that range from "arms control, preventive diplomacy, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, democratization, election monitoring, and economic and environmental security."

Critics contend that the OSCE is ineffectual, as it has no formal mechanism of enforcing the various agreements that countries sign on to. As these critics once pointed to the Soviet Union, they now call attention to countries in Central Asia that have joined as permanent members of the organization; countries, they say, whose leaders rule heavy-handedly and abuse human rights continually. Even so, if one takes a long-term approach to bringing about change in this part of the world and considers the history of Europe, there is hope that the OSCE -- with its noble ideals for humanity -- can play a positive role in influencing the ideas that circulate among the leaders and, perhaps more importantly, among the people.

The Importance of the OSCE for Afghanistan

Joining the OSCE community is a significant step for the nascent state of Afghanistan -- even if the relationship is informal at this stage. The obvious tangible benefit is a possible increase in economic cooperation between Afghanistan and the 55 OSCE member states. This could result in increased foreign investment and trade for Afghanistan as well as potentially a new pool of human and financial resources for reconstruction projects and assistance programs.

Less tangible, but equally important benefits to be reaped from Afghanistan's new relationship with the OSCE involve the organization's potential influence in the development of democratic state institutions, the creation and maintenance of peace and security in Afghanistan, and the promotion of human rights in the country -- including the freedom of ideas and the press.

Some analysts assert that the lack of central government control is inhibiting and will continue to block progressive and far-reaching changes in the above-mentioned areas. Regional leaders and militias, who wield their power by the gun, make it impossible for the Transitional Administration to ensure throughout the country that local government institutions are democratic in nature, that human rights are respected, or that freedom of the press is granted. Signing lofty agreements is one matter, but implementing them in a country that lacks even basic security and infrastructure is quite another. With all its goodwill and intentions, critics say, the government in Afghanistan simply cannot enforce the ideals promoted in the OSCE agreements.

This may be true. Nevertheless, the agreement between the OSCE and Afghanistan is a two-way street. While the Afghan government must try its utmost to uphold the various OSCE goals, the OSCE now has a responsibility to assist Afghanistan in attaining them. Although, again, the relationship is an informal one, President Hamid Karzai and his government should not hesitate to call upon the organization to wield its influence both domestically and internationally, and to offer Afghanistan the available resources in meeting the challenges discussed above.

Furthermore, with its key role in establishing security in Afghanistan and as a permanent member of the OSCE, the United States must also remain committed to meeting the challenges that Afghanistan faces.

"Mosharekat-e Melli" in a 30 March commentary wrote that the future Afghan constitution is the most important chapter in the new phase of Afghan history that began after the fall of the Taliban regime in December 2001. The official publication of Hizb-e Wahdat, one of the political parties representing the Shia population in Afghanistan, said that while the Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC) should be commended for completing the first draft on schedule (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 27 March 2003), the Afghan people "know nothing about the contents of the draft constitution." The newspaper added that the role of the people "as the real power behind amending and approving the constitution, should be very decisive and visible" in the approval stage of the new Afghan code of law, and only with public participation can the new constitution be viewed as a "national document." The paper asks of the Afghan people not to look upon the new draft constitution with prejudice. The CDC, along with a soon-to-be-formed Constitutional Review Commission, will review the draft constitution before presenting it to a Constitutional Loya Jirga in October for approval (for analysis on the public's participation in the development of the Afghan constitution, see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 3 April 2003). (Amin Tarzi)

CDC spokesman Faruk Wardak said, "The major difference between [the future Afghan] constitution and those we've had in the past is that this time people will be consulted and their viewpoints will be reflected," AP reported on 3 April. Karzai is expected to appoint a 30-member review commission with the task of soliciting public comments on the proposed document before the final version of the constitution is presented to a special Constitutional Loya Jirga in October. According to Deputy Chief Justice Fazel Ahmad Manawi, the new constitution is likely to call for the establishment of an Islamic parliamentary democratic system with a powerful president and a less powerful prime minister, AP reported. (Amin Tarzi)

Any public participation in the approval process of the new constitution will be limited to select Afghans such as religious leaders, tribal elders, and legal experts, and no referendum is planned, AP reported on 3 April. The news agency also quoted an anonymous foreign analyst in Kabul as saying that the one-year time frame (October 2002 to October 2003) allotted by the 2001 Bonn Agreement for the drafting and approval of the new Afghan constitution has proven to be too short "to have a meaningful debate." The analyst added that the Afghan administration is committed to the Bonn Agreement and "there's no way to change it." Manawi, meanwhile, cautioned that Afghanistan has never had difficulties in writing new constitutions, but has always had problems "implementing them." (Amin Tarzi)

The Kabul daily "Hewad" in a 3 April commentary noted that, at times, the media have more power and are more effective than the legislative, judicial, and executives branches of the government, particularly in connecting the people with their government. "Hewad" added that this important role of the media, which has been noted by CDC Chairman Nematullah Shahrani (see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 3 April 2003), should be protected by legislation and be included in the new Afghan constitution that is expected to be adopted in October. The commentary also called for the inclusion of freedom for women in the new Afghan code of law, in order to allow Afghan women to be productive partners in the "fields of education, politics, social affairs, etc.," of their society. (Amin Tarzi)

In another commentary on the future Afghan constitution, "Hewad" on 6 April warned that the idea of a federal system for Afghanistan that has been floated by "some people" will only serve the enemies "who have long been trying in different ways to weaken the centralism in Afghanistan, divide the segments of the people under different pretexts, and finally abolish the integrity of the country." "Hewad" said some high-ranking officials at the provincial level are "just as suspicious" as foreign enemies, and "may violate the rules of the central government as soon as a federal system is enforced"; thus ending the unity of Afghanistan as a state. The paper added that the reason Afghanistan has not had an accepted political system or a functioning constitution in the last few decades is because people in power imposed their "will on the people" and did not consult the public on important national decisions (for more on this subject, see "RFE/RL Afghanistan Report," 16 January 2003).

A copy of an official document entitled "The Constitution-Making Process in Afghanistan" on the constitutional process in Afghanistan, prepared by the Secretariat of the CDC dated 10 March, soon to be released as a decree, was obtained by RFE/RL, and given the importance of the new constitution in future of Afghanistan as a state, the full text of this decree is transcribed below in full. (Amin Tarzi)

The constitution-making exercise in Afghanistan is an important step forward in the nation-building process. The people of Afghanistan are weary of war and hunger for peace. This process of making the constitution will actively involve the people of Afghanistan for the first time in the creation of their shared roadmap towards peace -- their future constitution. The Islamic Transitional State of Afghanistan (ITSA) is committed to a constitution-making exercise that will engage all segments of Afghan society, strengthen a sense of national identity, and aim for a consensual document acceptable to all Afghans. This commitment to an inclusive process adheres to the principles of the Bonn Agreement, most notably "the right of the people of Afghanistan to freely determine their own political future in accordance with the principles of Islam, democracy, pluralism and social justice."

The Bonn Agreement stipulates that a new constitution shall be adopted by a Constitutional Loya Jirga (CLJ), which must be convened within 18 months of the establishment of the Transitional Authority. The agreement states that a Constitutional Commission shall be established by the Transitional Authority with the assistance of the United Nations. It is also agreed that "free and fair elections" to choose a "fully representative government" must be held no later than two years from the date of the convening of the Emergency Loya Jirga (which was convened on 9 June 2002). Given that the elections must be held under the new constitution, the constitution must be in place before the elections. Hence, the process of making a constitution for Afghanistan is critical to the success of the Bonn Agreement.

The constitution-making exercise will be accomplished through three constitution-making organs. These three organs are: the Drafting Commission, the Constitutional Commission, and the Constitutional Loya Jirga (CLJ).

A Secretariat will support the functions of each of the three constitution-making bodies. The Secretariat has been providing the Drafting Commission with the necessary administrative and logistical support and will expand to support the Constitutional Commission. The international community, with the United Nations in the lead, will coordinate closely with the Secretariat and each constitution-making organ to ensure that each step in the process has the necessary support, both material and technical, to successfully complete the constitution-making process.

The Constitutional Drafting Commission

The president appointed the nine members of the Drafting Commission on 5 October 2002 and selected Vice President Professor Naematullah Shahrani to serve as chairman. The responsibility of the Drafting Commission is to produce a preliminary draft of the constitution. This preliminary draft will serve as a set of recommendations to the Constitutional Commission on constitutional arrangements. The Drafting Commission will submit the preliminary draft of the constitution to the Constitutional Commission on the day of its inauguration along with a report that explains its recommendations for the format of the future constitution.

The Constitutional Commission

The commission will consist of approximately 30 commissioners appointed by the president after broad consultations. The president will also appoint the chair of the commission from among the commissioners. The primary responsibilities of the commission are to consult widely with the people of Afghanistan and produce a draft constitution by 30 August 2003 for submission to the Constitutional Loya Jirga in October. The commission's functions will include: preparing and publishing the draft constitution; facilitating and promoting public information on the constitution-making process during the entire period of its work; conducting public consultations in each province of Afghanistan, and among Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan and, where possible, other countries, to solicit the views of Afghans regarding their national aspirations; receiving written submissions from individuals and groups of Afghans within and outside the country wishing to contribute to the constitutional process; conducting or commissioning studies concerning options for the draft constitution; preparing a report analyzing the views of Afghans gathered during public consultations and making the report available to the public; and educating the public on the draft constitution by returning to all of the provinces of Afghanistan and to the refugee populations in Iran and Pakistan.

The commission will ensure broad participation of women in the constitutional-making process. The Constitutional Drafting Commission consists of nine members including two women. The representation of women will increase in the soon-to-be-established commission. The women commissioners will lead, where possible, consultations with women in light of culture sensitivities in some areas. The commission will also educate the public through their regional and provincial staff to inform women and other groups about the need for women's involvement in the process. The staff will also identify suitable venues, times and ways of meeting and/or communicating with the commission.

The commission will be working closely with the Ministry of Women Affairs, which together with UNIFEM, is collecting inputs, holding seminars and other public education programs about the constitutional rights of women. Further, the commission will liaise with the women civil society organizations that will put at the disposal of the commission a broad network of their grassroot organizations. Gender balance is also a priority for the selection of the regional consultation teams.

The Constitutional Loya Jirga

The CLJ shall be the most representative body assembled in Afghanistan for the purpose of agreeing on the constitution. Its role will be to review and adopt the constitution. The CLJ shall be convened in October and complete its work by 25 October 2003. The constitution will then be published and widely disseminated.

Role of the Constitutional Commission

The commission will be inaugurated in April 2003. The commissioners will have high-level academic credentials in various fields and will represent the regional, ethnic, gender, and other diversity of the country. They will seek to represent the aspirations of the people and strive to develop national consensus on critical issues.

The work plan of the commission and Secretariat shall be divided into the following phases, some of which may operate concurrently:

Organizational Phase, during which the commission will adopt its rules of procedure and work plan and form thematic committees;

Public Education Phase, which will be coordinated by the Secretariat and will inform the public about the work of the commission and the constitution-making process;

Research and Expert Consultation Phase, during which the commissioners will research and consult with relevant experts on constitutional options for the constitution and recommendations from the Constitutional Drafting Commission;

Public Consultation Phase, which will be coordinated by the Secretariat, during which the commissioners will travel to each province and outside the country, as appropriate, to solicit the views of the public; and the public may submit to the commission proposals for the constitution;

Report Writing Phase, during which the commissioners, with the assistance of the Secretariat, will analyze the views expressed during the Consultation period;

Drafting and Finalization Phase, during which the commission will prepare and agree upon the draft constitution and accompanying report, present it to the president; and

Publication and dissemination of the draft constitution, during which the Secretariat will publish and disseminate the draft constitution and the commissioners, will explain the draft constitution to the public.

The commission will be consulting Afghan and international experts as it explores options for various constitutional issues. In preparation for the commission's role in researching and exploring constitutional issues, UNAMA's Constitutional Commission Support Unit has consulted with the Constitutional Drafting Commission and has commissioned options papers by experts on constitutional issues. Senior constitutional experts, both Afghan and international, will also be available to the commission to discuss the various constitutional models.

One of the principal tasks of the commission is to consult broadly with the public and key stakeholders. The commission will travel to each province in Afghanistan and to Iran, Pakistan, and, where possible, other countries to consult with Afghan refugees. In addition, all Afghan citizens both inside and outside the country will be invited to send the commission proposals and recommendations for the draft constitution.

After public consultation, the commission will complete the draft constitution by 30 August, present it to the president, and publish it for distribution to the public.

The commissioners will then travel back to each province in Afghanistan during September to educate the public on the contents of the draft constitution and explain how the public's concerns and recommendations were incorporated into the draft or balanced with other interests.

Role of the Secretariat

The Secretariat will provide support services to the Drafting Commission, the Constitutional Commission and the Constitutional Loya Jirga. An effective and resourceful Secretariat is critical to adhering to the timetable for the constitution-making exercise.

For the second phase of the process, the functions of the Secretariat will include: Providing information to the commissioners, if required, prior to the inauguration of the commission, in consultation with the chairperson; managing the finances of the commission; procuring resources for the commission; preparing financial, progress and operational reports as required by the commission and the United Nations; supervising the functions and day-to-day operations of the Secretariat; sending timely notices of all meetings of the commission and ensure minutes of such meetings are accurately recorded; ensuring that commissioners have access to the minutes of the commission; establishing departments of the Secretariat to facilitate the work of the commission; establishing regional or provincial offices to facilitate the work of the commission; ensuring that the decisions of the commission are followed up and implemented; providing adequate services for all committees of the commission; keeping custody of all records and property of the commission; establishing hiring, terms of employment and discipline procedures for staff of the Secretariat; and recruiting such number of staff for the Secretariat as may be needed, in consultation with the commission and the United Nations and through a transparent hiring process which shall ensure fair gender and ethnic representation and be conducted through competitive interviews.

The Secretariat will hire administrative staff to support the commission and also establish the following departments to facilitate the work of the commission:

Press Office and Media Monitoring -- will provide two full-time staff to arrange press conferences for the chairperson of the commission who shall serve as the spokesperson. This office will also provide regular press releases and monitor the media to report to the spokesperson and advise him or her about a media strategy to ensure accurate information is provided to the press and public.

Public Education -- the staff of this department will coordinate the public education/information campaign on the constitution-making process and partner with the media and civil society to widely disseminate information to the public. The public consultation staff in the regions and provinces will use this information to inform the public prior to the public consultation process. This department will also be responsible for producing copies of both the draft and adopted constitution and summaries of the constitution that will explain the contents of the constitution in simple terms.

Research, Reporting, and Documentation -- this department will respond to research requests, create a small resource library and gather materials, document all minutes of meetings and plenary sessions, and analyze and compile the reports from the public consultation process. The rapporteurs hired for this department will service the thematic committees of the commission and also the public-consultation process.

Public Consultations -- the Kabul office will coordinate the process and eight regional offices will be established to facilitate the consultation process in the regions and provinces.

The Secretariat will develop capacity-building plans for all of the departments to ensure that staff are able to effectively conduct their work. The regional and provincial staff for the public-consultation process will be brought to Kabul for training to effectively organize and conduct the consultation process. The public-consultation staff will also participate in creating a security strategy specific to the conditions of their respective regions or provinces. Workshops to educate journalists about the constitutional process will also be held to promote the provision of accurate information to the public about the process.

Public Education

The role of public education is critical to ensure that the public has accurate information about the constitution-making exercise and their role in the process. The Public Education Department (PE Department) will coordinate the Public Education Campaign on the constitution-making process, which will cover the following information:

Information about what is a constitution, how a constitution can impact the daily lives of the Afghan people and key constitutional issues; A history of the constitution-making process in Afghanistan; The Bonn Agreement and current structure of government; A description of the current constitution-making process; and The importance of public participation in the process.

The program will accommodate and reach to the extent possible the diversity of the people of Afghanistan including socio-economic status, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, learning, people with disabilities and the disadvantaged.

The campaign will help towards conduct meaningful public consultations. Members of the public-consultation teams in the regions and provinces will use this information to inform the public prior to the public consultation process.

The PE Department of the Secretariat is also coordinating with the civil-society organizations and other groups to implement the program and will provide them material and recommended means of delivering the curriculum.

The PE Department will also be assisting the commission in writing summaries of the draft constitution and the constitution as adopted by the CLJ. These booklets will explain the main features of the constitution in simple terms and will serve as tools for educating the public on the draft constitution. They will be also used to brief delegates of the CLJ before they debate and ratify the constitution. After the CLJ adopts the constitution another summary will be made of this constitution and copies made available to the public. The media and civil society will develop programs to disseminate the constitution and ensure that the public understands the basic content of the constitution.

Public Consultation Process

The constitutional commissioners will conduct the public consultations to ascertain the aspirations, views, and recommendations of the Afghans before finalizing a draft of the constitution for submission to the CLJ. The consultations will cover over a two-month period and the commissioners will travel to all 32 provinces and to Iran, Pakistan, and, where possible, other countries to consult Afghan refugees. In addition to meeting with the public and key figures of the society, the public will be encouraged to submit written memorandum recommending proposals for the draft constitution. The commissioners will strive to place those aspirations within a constitutional framework.

The consultations will be designed to promote genuine consultation between the commission and the public and at the same time minimize manipulation by special interest groups. Consultations will be held in public meetings, where possible. To maximize participation and allow in-depth discussions, the commissioners will have separate meetings with homogeneous groups. These groups will include community and tribal elders, ulema [religious scholars], women, members of the ELJ, businesspersons, university professors, professionals, youth and Afghan members of NGOs and intergovernmental agencies. As needed and where possible, other groups will be also consulted.

The commissioners will form eight national mobile-consultation teams to cover each region and all provinces, with one team remaining in the city of Kabul; members of the Kabul team will also travel to Iran and Pakistan. The Secretariat will establish eight regional offices and the coordinator of each regional office will appoint a staff member in each of the provinces to facilitate the public consultation meetings with commissioners. These provincial staff will travel to the districts to educate the public on the process and schedule meetings with the commissioners and ensure wide geographic participation.

Each regional office will have sufficient staff and adequate communication tools to be able to keep in regular contact with the Commission/Secretariat in Kabul. Regional UNAMA offices will provide support to these offices as requested and to the extent possible. The regional offices will also be used as bases to disseminate information about the constitution and will remain in place throughout the process. Each office will have a public education officer who will provide information on the constitutional process throughout the constitution-making exercise. After the commission drafts the constitution, the commission consultation teams will return to the provinces to explain the constitution and the regional offices will again facilitate that process in September.

The commissioners will meet with relevant government officials to facilitate secure consultations and to also seek their views for the draft constitution. In addition, the commissioners who will remain in the capital will consult with a wider variety of stakeholders, including academia, economists, ministry officials and others.

Two rapporteurs for each commission team will be trained to take accurate minutes and each session will be audiotaped to ensure the minutes are accurate. A team of analysts will be based in Kabul to organize the reports as they come in from the provinces. The report will help the commission promote the national aspirations of the people of Afghanistan and attempt to resolve divisions and tensions through compromises before the meeting of the CLJ.

Constitutional Loya Jirga

The role of the CLJ is to adopt the constitution and to confer legitimacy on it. The CLJ will convene in October 2003, and will review and adopt the Constitution. Discussions are underway to determine the specific mechanisms and processes to be used for electing and selecting representatives of the CLJ as well as the mechanisms for conducting the CLJ. In line with traditions of Loya Jirgas, the CLJ will be a grand representative meeting made up of all sectors of Afghan society and will deliberate upon and adopt the new constitution. To ensure their active participation in the deliberations, delegates will participate in a weeklong orientation to inform them about the contents of the Draft Constitution and rules of procedures of the CLJ. The CLJ will provide a further opportunity to build consensus on vital national issues and on controversies which might arise during the public consultations after the publication of the Draft Constitution. The Secretariat will provide administrative support for the CLJ.

Assistance of the United Nations

According to the Bonn Agreement and at the request of ITSA, the United Nations is providing support to the constitutional process in Afghanistan. In this regard, UNAMA and UNDP have developed a joint support project for the three constitution-making organs -- the Drafting Commission, the Constitutional Commission and the Constitutional Loya Jirga -- and the Secretariat. According to the project document, UNAMA has the primary responsibility for coordinating international technical and financial support to the project. UNDP has and will continue to assist the constitutional process by providing financial management, administrative and operational support. UNAMA, in particular its Constitutional Support Unit, as well as UNDP will regularly update the international partners about the progress and needs of the Constitutional Commission and facilitate the best means to provide support for it.


1-28 February

Secretariat expands office to support the commission. The secretary will hire staff to create a Press and Media Monitoring Unit, Public Education Unit, Public Consultation Unit, and Researching, Reporting, and Documentation Unit as well as providing for financial and administrative staff. With the support of UN regional offices, the secretary will also hire staff for to eight regional offices which will facilitate the public consultation process.

With the support of technical assistance, the secretary will develop a capacity-building/training plan for staff as well as office procedures. The capacity building of the staff will not only benefit the constitutional process but also the electoral process and future parliament because the skills developed will transfer to these other critical processes. The Secretariat will ensure that hiring practices result in a diverse staff, including ethnically and seeking a fair representation of both men and women.

Secretariat prepares for the establishment of the Constitutional Commission, including identification of building, procurement of resources, preparation for inauguration of commission and orientation workshop for commissioners on their rules of procedure, the phases of the process and constitutional framework.

Secretariat completes logistical arrangements for commissioners based outside of Kabul to travel to the capitol and secure housing and transportation to the commission. Also, the commission's meeting room for the commissioners and observers is prepared with adequate facilities for the effective working of the commission.

1-30 March

A Public Education Unit that will partner with media, civil society, and other organizations to launch public-education campaign that will provide information about the process and prepare the public for the public consultation process. The Secretariat will seek to inform as many Afghans as possible about the process.

In the first half of March the Drafting Commission will complete work on the creation of a preliminary draft of the constitution and a report explaining each of the important titles or areas of the preliminary draft. The report will be immediately available in Dari and Pashto for distribution to the Constitutional Commission.

The Research, Reporting, and Documentation Unit begins analyzing and collating proposals for the draft constitution and entering information into a database and framework which will also be used to analyze and collate the information from the public consultation process when the information begins arriving in the central office by mid-April. The translators in this unit also strengthen their ability to translate technical legal terms and assists in translating material for public-consultation database.

1-30 April

Process of appointing or selecting the commissioners takes place and ensures the most able and representative body possible. A chairperson is selected.

A decree is adopted which establishes the CLJ and preparations will begin, including the drafting of the rules of procedure.

Constitutional Commission is sworn in and agrees to the rules of procedure, the phases of their work, and constitutional issues. The commission also reviews the preliminary draft and report from the Drafting Commission and options papers prepared by experts on key issues.

Secretariat will establish a Press and Media Monitoring Unit to assist the chairperson/spokesperson of the commission to liaison with the press.

The Secretariat completes hiring of regional office staff to facilitate the public consultation process. The staff is trained in Kabul and returns to the regions establishing offices to prepare for the public-consultation process in April.

Secretariat finalizes public education strategy and material.

Secretariat launches public-education campaign with the support of the civil society organizations, media, and government and nongovernment institutions.

Commission convening facilitation workshops for preparation of the commissioners and the Secretariat staff for the public consultation sessions.

1 May-30 June

Public-consultation process in all regions and provinces of Afghanistan, and with Afghan refugees in Iran, Pakistan, and, where possible, other countries.

Rapporteurs (minute takers) document consultation process and provide groups and stakeholders with copies of transcripts to ensure they feel that their views were adequately recorded. The sessions are tape recorded but not videotaped for reasons of privacy.

The minutes of consultation meetings are taken as needed on an ongoing bases, analyzed and collated into the database.

Public consultation process completed by end of June.

1 July-30 August

The commission finalizes a report analyzing the views of the public as expressed during the consultation process.

Based on the public consultations, discussions with key stakeholders, and the preliminary draft of the constitution, the committees of the commission finalize their recommendations and provide them to the plenary to agree upon.

Plenary reviews and agrees upon the draft and accompanying report.

The draft will be available in both official languages and distributed.

A summary of the draft is prepared which explains the main features of the draft, with illustrations of structure of government in easy to understand terms.


The commission and Public Education Unit begin educating public about the draft by returning to all provinces and Iran and Pakistan and also through the media.

Finalize preparations for CLJ.

A 4/5-day orientation for the delegates to the CLJ is held to explain the rules of procedure and to review the draft and report.


Holding of the CLJ for adoption of the constitution.


Core staff of Secretariat will remain in place and assist in conducting public awareness campaigns on the new constitution.

10 April 1923 -- First-ever Afghan Constitution adopted.

3 April 1988 -- Kabul government creates Sar-e Pol Province in north-central Afghanistan.

7 April 1996 -- Peshawar-based university of Dawat-al Jihad transferred to Jalalabad.

Sources: "Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan" by Ludwig W. Adamec, (Lanham: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1997); Voice of America.