In Afghanistan, the state building enterprise began by Amir Abdur Rehman Khan (r.
1880-1901) culminated into the 1964 constitution, seems to have created a sense of nationhood among the various groups making up the country. Despite the recent history of war and feud between various factions, there seems to be a consensus on preserving a united Afghanistan.
This thesis attempts to examine the constitution making process in Afghanistan, especially in the context of relations between the central government and the periphery. If a constitution is 'the soul of a nation', as a South African scholar puts it, I am tempted to add that the constitution-making experience of a nation—the constitutional moment—is an occasion fora nation's self interrogation on its past, present and future. It is a rendezvous with destiny.
Successful constitutions are characterized by a capacity to strike a balance between the need to enshrine fundamental principles, on the one hand, and provisions for adaptation to changing circumstances, on the other. The latter includes the needs of achieving Security an([ the developmental imperatives of a nation. One of the crucial questions that the drafters of a constitution face concerns the relationship between the central government and the regions and localities comprising the country. What degree of decentralization is granted to the regions is a matter to be determined in each case by the history and politics of each country. Thus the present study advocating federalism in Afghanistan is divided into the following chapters:
Chapter I discusses the established principles of constitutional Jurisprudence and its relevance in the context of the constitutional-making process in Afghanistan. Unitary constitution failed in delivering stability and development to Afghanistan, hence, needs application of federal principles.
Chapter 2 describes and explains the ethnic diversity in Afghanistan. It also discusses the inter-ethnic relations in broader political ambit, policy of the ruling Muhammad zai dynasty towards ethnic minorities, inter-ethnic relations during Afghan Jihad and the subsequent impact of the jihad in terms of fostering ethnic rivalries.
Chapter 3 contains a brief overview of the events leading to the fall of Communist regime in Kabul and efforts to install a multi-ethnic, broad-based government in Kabul under the auspices of the United Nations. The ensuing internecine battle for power, the power struggle amongst various contenders and its impact on the delicate social fabric of the Afghan society, role of regional as well as global powers in widening the schism amongst various interest groups distinguishable on ethnic, linguistic, sectarian and cultural grounds are taken into account. Five regional political power
centers are identified. The rise and fall of the Taliban the interim and transitional governments mandated to restore democracy and constitutional order in Afghanistan are assessed.
Chapter 4 narrates the story as to how the administrative edifice of Afghanistan was structured through the ages more precisely since the days of Amir Abdur Rehman, creator of the administrative set-up still in vogue in Afghanistan. The focus of attention has been the centre-periphery relations, the judicial structure, the military and the finances.
Chapter 5 studies the constitution making process set in [notion by the Bonn Agreement. The Constitution of Afghanistan 2003 is examined especially in the context of administrative structure it has raised.