Afghanistan Government - 2023


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Country name

conventional long form: formerly Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

conventional short form: Afghanistan

local long form: formerly Jamhuri-ye Islami-ye Afghanistan

local short form: Afghanistan

former: Islamic Republic of 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, suspended by the Taliban after taking over the country in 2021

Legal system

the Taliban is implementing its own interpretation of Islamic law, which partially based on the Hanifi school of Islamic jurisprudence; 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 government as Amir-ul Momineen
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 BERADER, Abdul Salam HANAFI, and Abdul KABIR

head of government: Overall Taliban Leader HAYBATULLAH Akhundzada serves as the head of the Taliban government as Amir-ul Momineen

cabinet: includes the acting prime minister, acting deputy prime ministers, and 26 ministries

elections/appointments: 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

Legislative branch

description: the Taliban Government has not announced the formation of a legislative branch; before the 2021 Taliban takeover, Afghanistan had a bicameral National Assembly that consisted of the House of Elders and House of the People

Judicial branch

highest court(s): the Taliban Government has a Supreme Court: number of judges and organizational structure NA; note - before 15 August 2021, Afghanistan had a Supreme Court (consisting of a supreme court chief and 8 justices organized into criminal, public security, civil, and commercial divisions)

judge selection and term of office: the Taliban Supreme Court judge selection and term of office NA; note - before 15 August 2021, the Supreme Court chief and justices were appointed by the president with the approval of the Wolesi Jirga; court chief and justices served single 10-year terms

subordinate courts: the Taliban Government has many provincial-level courts, religious courts, and specialty courts
note - before 15 August 2021, consisted of Appeals Courts; Primary Courts; and Special Courts for issues including narcotics, security, property, family, and juveniles

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

International organization participation

member of the following organizations but cannot participate because the international community does not recognize the Taliban Government:  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

chief of mission: the United States does not maintain a presence in Afghanistan and bases the Department of State's Afghanistan Affairs Unit in Doha, Qatar; note - the US Embassy in Kabul closed in August 2021

embassy: Embassy Kabul, operations have been suspended; Department of State’s Afghanistan Affairs Unit operates from 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; Buddhas of Bamyan

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 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Afghanistan 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Afghanistan 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.