Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Hopes for Stability

By Wahidullah Amani, Mustafa Basharat, Hassina Suliman

But with the draft document only recently released, copies scarce, and large numbers of people unable to read, few people have any in-depth knowledge of the process.

"I haven't read the draft constitution but we hope that the Loya Jirga will approve a constitution which will be useful for all the people and obeyed by all," said Abdul Karim, 45, a fruit-seller in Bagh-i-Bala, just east of the gathering’s venue.

Mohammad Haroon, a street bookseller in central Kabul, reckoned the draft constitution “seems to be a good, positive change to lead the country out of misery and lawlessness".

The role of Islam and education were among the topics that elicited interest.

Widespread support was found for the country being an Islamic state, as specified in the draft document.

However, particularly in the vicinity of the Polytechnic where the gathering is being held, there’s concern over the omission for a requirement for higher education to be free, as found in the 1964 constitution.

About the process itself, there was widespread concern at the number of delegates with ties to military commanders – despite such strongmen being officially barred from taking part.

Jalil Sakhi, an assistant at an English language centre, demanded, "How can we trust the people who more than once have brought misfortune and tragedy to the people to make a good constitution for us?"

Noor Ahmad, who has been living in The Netherlands for 23 years, but is currently visiting Kabul has also been disappointed.

"We do not trust the delegates in the Loya Jirga because they are illiterate," he declared, which if true would mean that the representatives had defied regulations requiring them to be able to read and write.

"We pray that Allah will reform Afghanistan because we do not trust these delegates," he added.

Wahidullah Amani, Mustafa Basharat and Hassina Suliaman are participating in IWPR’s Loya Jirga reporting project.

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