Branches of Government

Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic. Afghanistan’s constitution separates the government into three branches  – a powerful executivelegislative and judicial. The constitution also calls for a Grand Assembly or Loya Jirga to convene under certain situations.



Ashraf Ghani
Current President of Afghanistan

The President is the head of the executive branch. The President serves as the head of state and the Command-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Afghanistan. He or She is elected by receiving more than 50% of the votes cast through free, general, secret, and direct voting. If none of the candidates for President receive more than 50% of the votes in the first round, a run-off election is held within two weeks. In this round, only two candidates with the highest number of votes are allowed to participate. In the run-off, the candidate who gets the majority of the votes will be elected as the President. The executive branch also includes two Vice President and members of the cabinet. Cabinet Ministers are appointed by the President and approved by the National Assembly.


 Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi
Current Head of Wolesi Jirga
 Fazel Hadi Muslimyar
Current Head of the Meshrano Jirga

 The legislative branch is the National Assembly or Parliament. The National Assembly consists of an upper and lower house. The lower house is the Wolesi Jirga (the House of People) and the upper house is the Meshrano Jirga. (House of Elders). No one can become a member of both houses simultaneously. Members of the Wolesi Jirga are elected by the people through free, general, secret, and direct elections. Members of the Meshrano Jirga are elected and appointed as follows:

  • From among the members of each provincial council, the respective council elects one person for a period of four years.
  • From among the district councils of each province, the respective councils elect one person for a period of three years.
  • The President from among experts and experienced personalities – including two representatives from the disabled and impaired and two representatives from the Kochis – appoints the remaining one-third of the members for a period of five years. The president appoints 50% of these people from among women.

Official Websites


Abdul Salam Azimi
Chief Justice of Afghanistan’s Supreme Court

The judicial branch consists of the Supreme Court (Stera Mahkama), High Courts, and Appeal Courts. The Supreme Court is composed of nine members who are appointed by the President for a period of ten years with the approval of the Wolesi Jirga. The appointment of the members for a second term is not permissible. The President appoints one of its members as the Head of the Supreme Court. The members of the Supreme Court cannot be dismissed from their service until the end of their term, except circumstances stated in Article 127 of Afghanistan’s constitution, which states:

“When more than one – third of the members of the Wolesi Jirga demand the trial of the Chief Justice, or a member of the Supreme Court due to a crime committed during the performance of duty, and the Wolesi Jirga approves of this demand by a majority of two-thirds votes, the accused is dismissed from his post and the case is referred to a special court.”

The current Supreme Court Chief Justice is: Abdul Salam Azimi. He was sworn in on August 5, 2006.  Before the Wolesi Jirga was established, Fazl Hadi Shinwari was the Chief Justice.  He was rejected in 2006 after the Wolesi Jirga was established.

The current Supreme court is made up of the following 9 justices: 
Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi
Deputy Chief Justice Bahuddin Baha
Justice Gholam Nabi Nawai
Justice Mohammad Alim Nasimi
Justice Mohammad Omar Barakzai
Justice Abdul Rashid Rashed
Justice Pohand Abdul Aziz Aziz
Justice Zamen Ali Behsudi
Justice Abdul Malik Kamawi


Loya Jirga is the highest manifestation of the people of Afghanistan. It consists of the following:

  • Members of the National Assembly.
  • Chairpersons of the provincial, and district councils
  • The ministers, Chief Justice and members of the Supreme Court can participate in the sessions of the Loya Jirga without the right to vote.

The Loya Jirga is supposed to be convened in the following situations:

  1. To take decision on issues related to independence, national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and supreme interests of the country.
  2. To amend the provisions of the Constitution.
  3. To prosecute the President.

Last updated by Abdullah Qazi on January 26, 2016