Likely Back again to Zero: How the Afghan Authorized and Judicial System is Collapsing Less than the Taliban Regime – JURIST – Commentary

Likely Back again to Zero: How the Afghan Authorized and Judicial System is Collapsing Less than the Taliban Regime – JURIST – Commentary

Mahir Hazim, going to affiliate investigate professor at Arizona State College Sandra Day O’Connor College of Legislation, analyzes how the Afghan legal and judicial method is collapsing speedily beneath the Taliban regime and what the global community wants to do to restore it.

The global group and the United States spent billions of pounds on rebuilding the Afghan authorized and judicial procedure and increasing the rule of law and governance about the previous two a long time. Having said that, after the Taliban takeover, any this kind of development and achievements rapidly disappeared and the foundations for the Afghan lawful method that experienced been expensively rebuilt over the very last 20 decades are in point out of despair, approaching the state of finish anarchy and lawlessness that existed prior to 2001. Accordingly, it is the accountability of the United Nations (UN) and the nations participating with the Taliban to make rescuing the lawful technique and guaranteeing rule of law their major priority when they negotiate with the Taliban.

Attempts to Rebuild the Legal and Judicial Technique

Soon after the Taliban 1. fell in 2001, a new constitution which embedded both equally Islamic and fashionable-progressive values was adopted in Afghanistan in 2004. Despite the fact that the structure experienced from many institutional design flaws, including a weak procedure of checks and balances, it envisaged a democratic political program and certain basic and equivalent rights and liberties for both equally adult men and girls. In mild of the constitution, countless guidelines and legal processes in conformity with international norms and the fashionable entire world ended up enacted with the enable of global and countrywide lawful scholars and practitioners. Lots of improvement plans ended up designed and carried out to modernize the lawful system, encourage institutional reforms, and establish the potential of staff in the justice establishments. Hundreds of young, educated women of all ages and guys entered the lawful and judicial techniques as judges, prosecutors, attorneys, clerks, and directors. Most of them gained considerable tutorial lawful education and obtained invaluable encounter, browsing international countries and mastering from various authorized techniques. Even though the technique was nonetheless grappling with important deficiencies and difficulties which includes rampant corruption and very poor implementation, there was even now hope for reforms and enhancements and the prospect of a far better foreseeable future.

The Taliban and Their Disregard of Regulations, Legal Techniques, and the Rule of Law

Even though the Taliban has not formally and specifically rescinded (or endorsed) any laws from the past govt, their actions demonstrate that they have no regard for the rules and regulations that were being enacted in the earlier 20 decades. They have continuously emphasized that they govern in accordance with Sharia without furnishing precise specifics or a definition of what they suggest by Sharia. For occasion, lengthy right before retaking Kabul, they viewed as the 2004 Constitution from Sharia in spite of the reality that the structure founded Islam as the state faith and the supreme source of legislation in the country (Short article 3 of the structure states that “no legislation shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan.”). The Taliban has established apart the 2004 Structure of Afghanistan. On 1 celebration, on September 28, 2021, the Taliban indicated that they might quickly put into action King Zahir Shah’s Structure, adopted in 1964. Having said that, other than that a single point out, the Taliban has not talked about any structure or constitutional buy.

In addition, the destiny of a enormous quantity of laws and laws in distinctive locations including felony legislation, felony treatment, household law, juvenile regulation, and women’s rights is unclear. It can be concluded from the Taliban’s statements that they ignore the guidelines in most locations but selectively stage to provisions or reference some guidelines these kinds of as banking law when it serves their passions. In addition, the random and frequently ambiguous orders of their supreme leader are deemed the legislation of the land. Just one of the new orders of the Taliban’s chief resolved some difficulties associated to loved ones regulation which includes the relationship appropriate of women of all ages based mostly on Sharia.
The Taliban has also claimed that they respect worldwide regulation and global treaties as lengthy as they do not violate Sharia legislation and their Islamic Emirate’s rules. Nonetheless, in observe, there is no indication that they intend to comply with any global treaties to which Afghanistan is a state social gathering.

Disbanding Impartial Establishments: Bar Association and Human Legal rights Fee

The Taliban has dissolved the Afghanistan Impartial Bar Association, a person of the key arms of justice in Afghanistan. They have needed about 6,000 bar associates (roughly 25% girls) to acquire and go a new entry test done under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice. The Taliban also prevented a collecting of lawyers who were being protesting the dissolution of the bar. In addition to dropping their independence under other Taliban decrees, girls legal professionals are not capable to practice legislation all over again under the Taliban routine.

Also, the Taliban has disbanded the Afghanistan Impartial Human Legal rights Commission (AIHRC). The AIHRC was proven on June 6, 2002 dependent on the Bonn Settlement and global human legal rights instruments. Less than the Islamic Republic, it preserved a essential purpose in checking, investigating, documenting, and reporting human legal rights violations and advocating for human rights-centered plan alterations in Afghanistan.

Taliban Militants Getting on the Justice Institutions with Confined or No Awareness or Know-how in Legislation

Taliban leaders accused of critical violations of human rights and included in the UN terrorism sanction checklist are taking on the Afghan justice institutions which includes the Supreme Court docket, the Ministry of Interior, and the Lawyer General’s Business. (For instance, both equally the present Taliban Minister of Interior and the new Legal professional Common are on the UN terrorism sanction record.) The Taliban has systematically changed the workforce of the past government’s justice establishments with their fighters with no considerable education and learning or history in legislation or even Sharia. One particular of the Taliban leaders, the existing Taliban Minister of Protection, declared that Taliban users ought to be employed in govt with no any academic merits.

The Taliban has dismissed judges (roughly 2000) of them altogether. Not only have they dismissed the judges, but they have also chased down and persecuted a lot of, specially women of all ages judges. About two hundred women judges have been pressured to cover or flee right after the Taliban takeover. Lots of were being evacuated to overseas international locations by women’s rights corporations and global assist agencies. These judges had attained substantial expertise and knowledge in law and been given judicial credentials in excess of a lot of yrs. The Taliban changed these educated and experienced judges with fighters lacking any judicial qualification. However, all these ladies judges will not be capable to sit on the judicial bench again so long as the Taliban continues to be in electric power. The Taliban has taken a similar strategy to prosecutors and other team at the Lawyer General’s Business office.

The Taliban’s Arbitrary Actions and the Rise of Injustices and Human Rights Abuses

Offered that the Taliban do not rule by regulation and lawful treatments, it is unsurprising that human rights abuses have significantly elevated considering the fact that the Taliban took manage of Afghanistan. Journalists, human rights activists, women’s legal rights advocates, members of former safety forces, and former government personnel have been arbitrarily arrested, tortured, or disappeared. Quite a few stories point out that the Taliban has opened fire and murdered harmless individuals who have pushed by their checkpoints even immediately after acquiring handed the check out. This was the case when the Taliban killed a female and injured two other people on 19 February 2022 in Kandahar province.

In addition, there have been numerous photos and movies circulating on social media exhibiting the Taliban fighters parading suspected or accused people on the streets with tied palms and black coloured faces. There is no way to realize no matter whether individuals men and women are in point guilty, or the Taliban have just taken some harmless men and women and humiliated them in public so they could instill dread for the purpose of handle or to make deterrence to avert authentic criminals from committing crimes. Also, numerous experiences suggest that the Taliban randomly end vehicles or persons and search their cellphones in Kabul. In the same way, as a most recent move, the Taliban has began a large household to residence lookup in Kabul, Parwan, and Panjshir provinces. According to experiences, the Taliban militants have targeted specific ethnic groups, breaking into their homes with no any court docket warrant and harassing the residents.

In addition, the Taliban introduced that they will resume imposing harsh punishments these types of as whipping or stoning in public. In reality, some stories reveal that the Taliban are already employing these types of harsh punishments. For instance, a modern report confirmed that the Taliban stoned a guy and woman to death with out keeping a trial on 14 February 2022 in Badakhshan province.

It is unclear how the Taliban would investigate violations of human rights as they assert they would. Apparently, the Taliban govern by their soldiers’ whims devoid of any restraints. If anyone has any grievances, they should go to the nearest commander or governor of the Taliban. Then, the governor or commander would look at and solve the scenario on the place with out conducting the extensive investigation that would have been performed formerly by a prosecutor and then deemed by a decide. A recent unique report from Sky News reveals that the Taliban has retained numerous individuals which include small children in a prison in Herat with “no evidence, no proof and no trials.” For the Taliban, this jail was imagined to be properly-retained and structured so they permitted a check out by global media. By comparison, the condition in other Taliban prisons must be a great deal even worse.

The Accountability of the International Neighborhood and the UN Towards the Afghan Authorized Program and Rule of Law

Whilst the UN, the United States, and quite a few European nations are currently concentrating on responding to the humanitarian crisis and the looming hunger and serious poverty in the country, they need to not ignore that they have a duty to interact with the Taliban utilizing a broad-primarily based method with a specific emphasis on ensuring rule of legislation and preserving the achievements of the past two many years. They ought to maintain the Taliban accountable for any human legal rights abuses and arbitrary actions. Millions of dollars had been invested in rebuilding the Afghan justice program. The UN, the United States, and other countries that have engaged and negotiated with the Taliban have a duty to tension the Taliban to end their arbitrary steps, restore the justice program, and chorus from setting up their fighters in positions requiring technological expertise, state-of-the-art instruction, and particular skills. Even though the UN and intercontinental neighborhood are pushing for the establishment of an inclusive government in the region, they have the leverage and possibility to desire that the Taliban guarantee the rule of law and employ ideal authorized treatments in all their actions. Devoid of restoring the lawful and judicial process, rule of legislation in Afghanistan will be eviscerated.


The Afghan authorized and judicial process is collapsing rapidly. The Taliban has made a legal vacuum. They set the laws on hold, dissolved the impartial authorized establishments, and replaced the human funds in justice institutions with uneducated militants without having taking into consideration the lawful or judicial skills. Given the current circumstance, it is envisioned that human legal rights violations will only carry on to boost significantly. It is urgently critical for the UN and other significant international and regional players to put restoring the lawful procedure and the rule of legislation as their top rated priority any time they engage with the Taliban. With the present-day Taliban’s disregard for laws and lawful methods and the loss of human capital in the justice establishments, it could possibly soon be way too late for the Taliban or any “inclusive government” they establish to restore the legal process and assure justice and rule of legislation in the region.


The creator is grateful to IIE for sponsoring his investigate at ASU.


Mahir Hazim is a traveling to affiliate analysis professor at Arizona State College Sandra Working day O’Connor Faculty of Law in Phoenix. He is an Afghan academic and authorized practitioner with an interdisciplinary history in regulation, social-authorized scientific tests, and political science. He holds a Ph.D. (2020) and LLM (2016) from the University of Washington in Seattle.


Advised citation: Mahir Hazim, Heading Back again to Zero: How the Afghan Legal and Judicial Program is Collapsing Less than the Taliban Routine, JURIST – Academic Commentary, March 7, 2022,

This posting was prepared for publication by Nandini Dwivedi, a JURIST assistant editor. Please direct any inquiries or remarks to her at [email protected]

Opinions expressed in JURIST Commentary are the sole duty of the writer and do not necessarily replicate the sights of JURIST’s editors, staff members, donors or the College of Pittsburgh.