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Afghanistan: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
conventional short form: Afghanistan
local long form: Jamhuri-ye Islami-ye Afghanistan
local short form: Afghanistan
former: Republic of Afghanistan
CapitalKabul Kabul
geographic coordinates: 34 31 N, 69 11 E
time difference: UTC+4.5 (9.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions34 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
Constitutionseveral previous; latest drafted 14 December 2003 - 4 January 2004, signed 16 January 2004, ratified 26 January 2004 (2012)
Executive branchchief of state: President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Hamid KARZAI (since 7 December 2004); First Vice President Yunis QANUNI (since March 2014); Second Vice President Abdul Karim KHALILI (since 7 December 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Hamid KARZAI (since 7 December 2004); First Vice President Yunis QANUNI (March 2014); Second Vice President Abdul Karim KHALILI (since 7 December 2004)
cabinet: 25 ministers; note - ministers are appointed by the president and approved by the National Assembly
elections: the president is elected by direct vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); if no candidate receives 50% or more of the vote in the first round of voting, the two candidates with the most votes will participate in a second round; first round of last election held on 5 April 2014 (second round held on 14 June 2014)
election results: first round results - Abdullah ABDULLAH 45%, Ashraf GHANI Ahmadzai 31.6%, Zalmai RASOUL 11.4%, other 12%; second round results - expected on 22 July
Flag descriptionthree 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 two bands; the center of the emblem features a mosque with pulpit and flags on either side, below the mosque are 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: Afghanistan had more changes to its national flag in the 20th century than any other country; the colors black, red, and green appeared on most of them
Independence19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court or Stera Mahkama (consists of the Supreme Court Chief and 8 justices organized into criminal, public security, civil, and commercial divisions or dewans)
judge selection and term of office: court chief and justices appointed by the president with the approval of the Wolesi Jirga; court chief and justices serve single 10-year terms
subordinate courts: Appeals Courts; Primary Courts; Special Courts for issues including narcotics, security, property, family, and juveniles
Legal systemmixed legal system of civil, customary, and Islamic law
Legislative branchthe bicameral National Assembly consists of the Meshrano Jirga or House of Elders (102 seats, two-thirds of members elected from provincial councils for four-year terms, and one-third nominated by the president for five-year terms) and the Wolesi Jirga or House of People (no more than 250 seats; members directly elected for five-year terms)
note: the constitution allows the government to convene a constitutional Loya Jirga (Grand Council) on issues of independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity; it can amend the provisions of the constitution and prosecute the president; it is made up of members of the National Assembly and chairpersons of the provincial and district councils; no Loya Jirga of this type has ever been held, and district councils have never been elected
elections: last held on 18 September 2010 (next expected in 2015)
election results: results by party - NA; note - ethnicity is the main factor influencing political alliances; approximate percentage of seats by ethnic group - Pashtun 39%, Hazara 24%, Tajik 21%, Uzbek 6%, other 10% (including Aimak, Arab, Baloch, Nuristani, Pahhai, Turkmen, Turkic); women hold 69 seats
International organization participationADB, CICA, CP, ECO, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE (partner), SAARC, SACEP, SCO (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
National holidayIndependence Day, 19 August (1919)
Political pressure groups and leadersother: religious groups, tribal leaders, ethnically based groups, Taliban
Political parties and leadersnote - the Ministry of Justice licensed 84 political parties as of December 2012
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Government typeIslamic republic
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Eklil Ahmad HAKIMI (since 16 February 2011)
chancery: 2341 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: (1) (202) 483-6410
FAX: (1) (202) 483-6488
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
National anthemname: "Milli Surood" (National Anthem)
lyrics/music: Abdul Bari JAHANI/Babrak WASA
note: adopted 2006; the 2004 constitution of the post-Taliban government mandated that a new national anthem should be written containing the phrase "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great) and mentioning the names of Afghanistan's ethnic groups
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)lion
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Richard YONEOKA
embassy: The Great Masood Road, Kabul
mailing address: U.S. Embassy Kabul, APO, AE 09806
telephone: (93) 0700 108 001
FAX: (93) 0700 108 564