AFP. 2 February 2002. Taliban and communists banned from Afghanistan

KABUL -- New political laws being drawn up in Afghanistan will demand
all parties abide by democratic principles, and ban communists and
Taliban leaders and followers from political activity, Justice Minister
Abdul Rahim Karimi said Saturday.

"All parties must accept the rules of [what we call] democracy. They
will only be authorised on this condition, there will be no exceptions,"
he said.

Karimi, who is charged with defining new political laws, expected they
would be ready within three weeks.

The laws will "refuse the right for anyone who took part in the
destruction of the country to form a party," he said.

"Taliban leaders will not be tolerated" nor would parties "that
supported the regime," he said, citing the ultra-fundamentalist
Hezb-i-Islami of anti-Soviet resistance commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Although the leaders of former communist parties would be excluded from
Afghan politics, the law would not apply to lower level commmunists "who
accept democracy and abandon the principle of dictatorship of the

In the new political era, parties must be registered with the culture
ministry and have a minimum 500 members, which is one of the
requirements of the country's 1964 constitution, a reference point for
the interim administration.

"The budgets of political parties will have to be transparent, and their
source of finance cannot come from a foreign country to avoid the risk
of a coup d'etat," the minister said.

The Taliban, which ruled for five years until last November, was largely
set up and financed by Pakistan.

Former communist rulers were backed by the Soviet Union.

The slew of laws being drawn up also ban personal attacks on rivals and
forbid the release of military or confidential information. The right of
free speech and Muslim values must be respected.

Parties implicated in the jihad (holy war) against the Soviet forces
"will only be able to resume political activity when they return 22
billion dollars received during the (1979-89) Soviet occupation," Karimi

"Before they begin operating they must clarify their financial situation
and the channels by which they were financed."

Among these parties are those of former president Burhanuddin Rabbani,
the Jamiat-i-Islami and the Northern Alliance which includes interim
Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, Defence Minister Qasim Fahim and
Interior Minister Yunus Qanooni, the justice minister said.

The 1964 constitution, established during the reign of former king Zahir
Shah, states only that "Afghan citizens have the right to form political
parties in accordance law" but does not control how they operate.

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Barry Stoller

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