The executive branch in the Afghan government, starting with the national then moving into the local.
The National Executive Branch
The executive branch of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan includes the following:
The president and the vice presidents are directly elected by the people of Afghanistan whereas the cabinet isappointed by the president and approved by the Wolesi Jirga (the lower house of the National Assembly), a legislative branch which we will talk about a little later.
Presidential candidates in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan must:
1.Be an Afghan citizen
2. Not have citizenship of another country
3.Be a Muslim
4.Be born of Afghan parents, and
5.Be at least forty years of age upon declaring candidacy
Although there are other qualifications to be president, these five are the most fundamental.
The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is Hamid Karzai. Karzai was first elected President in November 2004. He was declared president for a second 5-year term by the Afghan Independent Election Commission on November 2nd, 2009 after his opponent withdrew from a run-off vote
•Most Afghans vote along the ethnic lines because of extreme tensions and distrust amongst the main ethnic groups such as Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara and Uzbek.
•The two new vice presidents of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan are from Tajik and Hazara ethnicities.
There are two elected vice-presidents in the Afghan government.
Mohammad Qasim Fahim (left)
Hamid Karzai (middle)
Abdul Karim Khalili (right)
Ethnicity and Elections
Most Afghans vote along the ethnic lines because of extreme tensions and distrust amongst the main ethnic groups such as Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara and Uzbek. The president of Afghanistan has always been a Pashtun with the exception of Habibullah Kalakani, Burhanuddin Rabbani and the rulers before the republic government were formed.
Hamid Karzai is an ethnic Pashtun from the Kandahar province. The two new vice presidents of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan are from Tajik and Hazara ethnicities.
Cabinet of Ministers
There are presently 24 ministries in the cabinet headed by the president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Ministers are appointed by the president and approved by the Wolesi Jirga, or the lower house. More ministers can be added with the approval of the National Assembly.
Cabinet of Ministers Qualifications
Candidates for the ministerial position must:
a) Be an Afghan citizen
b) Be at least 35 years of age
c) Have higher education
Amongst other qualifications
Ministers, unlike the president and vice presidents, can have citizenship of another country, but the Wolesi Jirga has the right to approve or reject a minister with dual citizenship.
Now, we will shift from the national executive branch to the provincial and district executive branches in Afghanistan. Note the role and influence of local leaders, such as Mullahs.
Executive at local level
The provincial governor in each province or Welayat leads the executive branch of the government.
- There are 34 provinces.
The province is divided into much smaller administrative units called Walaswalai , or district.
- There are a total of 398 districts.
Each province has a district and provincial capital
Independent Directorate of Local
▫August 30, 2007 Presidential Decree
▫Responsible for the supervision of Provincial and District Governors and Councils and Municipalities
Provincial governor or Waalee is appointed by the President and is responsible to him through Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG).
Each provincial ministry director, provincial police chief and district governors report to the governor as well as their respective bosses in the Central Government.
Provincial Governor and Village Leaders
Village elders, like Maleks and Mullahs, wield a lot of influence with the provincial governor. These village elders and Maleks regularly sit with the governor and discuss important current issues. The governors, for their part, depend greatly on the cooperation of elders at the village level. A lot of provinces have no police or other law enforcement bodies at the village level, so the provincial government has to rely on heavily on village elders, Maleks, Mullahs, etc. to fill this role.
The District governor or Walaswal is recommended by IDLG in coordination with the provincial governor. The district governor reports directly to the provincial governor. District governor directs district directorates of ministries, the police chief and works with district councils as well the district courts, which are two district bodies of legislative and judicial branches.
District Governor and Village Elders
The district governor is the closest person to villagers, the elders, Maleks, Mullahs, etc. District governor have regular meetings with local leaders about various issues. District governors also head local Jirgas, which requires a lot of interaction with village elders. District governors, just like the provincial governors, rely heavily on the power and cooperation of local elders.
Mullahs and the Government
Mullahs are integral part of the village. The mullah of a mosque where the big Friday prayer is performed is called a Khateeb. There are two kinds of Khateebs. A Khateeb that is registered with the Ministry of Haj & Islamic Affairs is the most common type of Khateeb. The second type of Khateeb is not registered with government and is paid by the locals. These Kateebs are mostly part of mosques in rural areas. Village elders have more influence on the Khateebs paid by the village, than Khateebs paid by the government. The Khateebs who openly support the government’s effort and oppose Taliban’s activity often fall victims to the extremists’ violence.