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Afghanistan Government - 2024


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Country name

conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (prior to 15 August 2021); current country name disputed

conventional short form: Afghanistan

local long form: Jamhuri-ye Islami-ye Afghanistan (prior to 15 August 2021; current country name is disputed)

local short form: Afghanistan

etymology: the name "Afghan" originally referred to the Pashtun people (today it is understood to include all the country's ethnic groups), while the suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country"; so Afghanistan literally means the "Land of the Afghans"

Government type

theocratic; the United States does not recognize the Taliban Government


name: Kabul

geographic coordinates: 34 31 N, 69 11 E

time difference: UTC+4.5 (9.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: does not observe daylight savings time

etymology: named for the Kabul River, but the river's name is of unknown origin

Administrative divisions

34 provinces (welayat, singular - welayat); Badakhshan, Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamyan, Daykundi, Farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghor, Helmand, Herat, Jowzjan, Kabul, Kandahar, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Kunduz, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nimroz, Nuristan, Paktika, Paktiya, Panjshir, Parwan, Samangan, Sar-e Pul, Takhar, Uruzgan, Wardak, Zabul


19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)

National holiday

previous: Independence Day, 19 August (1919); under the Taliban Government, 15 August (2022) is declared a national holiday, marking the anniversary of the victory of the Afghan jihad


history: several previous; latest ratified in 2004, but not currently enforced by the Taliban

Legal system

the Taliban is implementing its own interpretation of Islamic law, which is partially based on the Hanifi school of Islamic jurisprudence and have enforced strict punishments; before the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan had a mixed legal system of civil, customary, and Islamic law


International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; formerly accepted ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must have been born in - and continuously lived in - Afghanistan

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: overall Taliban Leader HAYBATULLAH Akhundzada serves as the head of the Taliban as Amir-ul Momineen and as such is seen by the Taliban as head of state; he resides and issues decrees from the city of Kandahar while the legacy government ministries operate from Kabul

head of government: overall Taliban Leader HAYBATULLAH Akhundzada is the [so-called] Amir-ul Momineen of the Taliban and is seen by them as a head of government


the Taliban have announced a “cabinet” for the “caretaker government,” including the “acting prime minister,” “acting deputy prime ministers,” and “ministers” who claim to represent 26 ministries


the 2004 Afghan constitution directed that the president should be elected by majority popular vote for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 28 September 2019, and the Taliban have given no indication that they intend to reinstate elections or any other mechanism of democratic governance

note 1: the United States has not yet made a decision whether to recognize the Taliban or any other entity as the government of Afghanistan
note 2: note - on 7 September 2021, the Taliban announced Mohammad HASSAN Akhund as the “acting prime minister” of the "caretaker government”; as of November 2021, the group had announced three "acting deputy prime ministers” - Abdul Ghani BARADER, Abdul Salam HANAFI, and Mohammad Abdul KABIR

Legislative branch

description: before August 2021, Afghanistan had a bicameral National Assembly that consisted of the House of Elders and House of the People; the parliament has been in hiatus since August 2021 and the Taliban have shown no interest in reviving it    

Judicial branch

highest court(s): the Taliban are purported to have appointed clerics, including a "Chief Justice", to Afghanistan's Supreme Court

subordinate courts: provincial courts, religious courts, and specialty courts

Political parties and leaders

the Taliban Government enforces an authoritarian state and has banned other political parties; note - before 15 August 2021, the Ministry of Justice had licensed 72 political parties as of April 2019

the Taliban have banned other political parties but have allowed some party leaders, including the head of Hezb-e-Islami, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, to continue to live and work in Afghanistan; Hekmatyar likely continues to enjoy some political support from loyalists; leaders of other parties, including Jamiat-e-Islami’s Salahuddin Rabbani and Jumbesh’s Rashid Dostum, operate from abroad but likely also command some following within Afghanistan; note - before 15 August 2021, the Ministry of Justice had licensed 72 political parties as of April 2019

International organization participation

Afghanistan is a member of the following organizations but Taliban representatives do not participate: ADB, CICA, CP, ECO, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE (partner), SAARC, SACEP, SCO (dialogue member), UN, UNAMA, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: none; note - the Afghan Embassy closed in March 2022

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the United States does not maintain a presence in Afghanistan and its diplomatic mission to Afghanistan has relocated to Doha, Qatar

Flag description

three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), red, and green, with the national emblem in white centered on the red band and slightly overlapping the other 2 bands; the center of the emblem features a mosque with pulpit and flags on either side, below the mosque are Eastern Arabic numerals for the solar year 1298 (1919 in the Gregorian calendar, the year of Afghan independence from the UK); this central image is circled by a border consisting of sheaves of wheat on the left and right, in the upper-center is an Arabic inscription of the Shahada (Muslim creed) below which are rays of the rising sun over the Takbir (Arabic expression meaning "God is great"), and at bottom center is a scroll bearing the name Afghanistan; black signifies the past, red is for the blood shed for independence, and green can represent either hope for the future, agricultural prosperity, or Islam

note 1: the United States has not recognized the Taliban or any other entity as the government of Afghanistan and, accordingly, continues to display the flag of Afghanistan as set forth in the country's constitution of 2004

note 2:
Afghanistan had more changes to its national flag in the 20th century - 19 by one count - than any other country; the colors black, red, and green appeared on most of them

National symbol(s)

lion; national colors: red, green, black

National anthem

name: "Milli Surood" (National Anthem)

lyrics/music: Abdul Bari JAHANI/Babrak WASA

note: adopted 2006

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 2 (both cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Minaret of Jam;

note: the monumental 6th- and 7th-century statues were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001

NOTE: The information regarding Afghanistan on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Afghanistan 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Afghanistan 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.