US hails draft Afghan constitution

The US has greeted the unveiling of a draft constitution for Afghanistan as an "important milestone" in the country's political development.

    President Hamid Karzai attended the ceremony in Kabul

    Afghanistan's post Taliban draft constitution was unveiled at a ceremony in Kabul's presidential palace on Monday, attended by foreign diplomats and former king, Muhammad Zahir Shah. 

    ''The public issuance of this very important draft, the product of consultation and dialogue among Afghans, marks an important milestone in Afghanistan's political development,'' said White House spokesman, Scott McClellan.

    The 160 page document was presented to President Hamid Kazai at the ceremony.

    The document is set to be debated and then adopted by a special 500 member grand assembly. The constitution paves the way for a presidential system based on what has been termed "moderate Islam".

    The unveiling of the constitution completes the first stage of reforms outlined at power sharing talks in Germany in 2001, which created Afghanistan's post war government.


    The new constitution replaces a 50-year-old document that had been largely ignored during years of Soviet occupation and civil war.

    The new constitution declares Afghanistan as an ''Islamic Republic'', but does not mention Sharia law (Islamic law) anywhere in the document.

    The constitution was unveiled at the same time as a visit by the United Nations Security Council members, touring the country to show its support for the Karzai administration.



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