Dispatch in Afghanistan: the former independent bar has merged with the Taliban justice ministry now subject to new regulations – JURIST
Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan file reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban took over. Here, a JURIST staff correspondent in Kabul reports on the merger of the Independent Bar Association of Afghanistan with the Taliban Ministry of Justice. For reasons of confidentiality and security, we retain the name of our correspondent. The text has only been slightly modified to respect the author’s voice.
After the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August last year, they began merging some independent government agencies with other government bodies. In one of these mergers, the Independent Bar Association of Afghanistan was merged with the Ministry of Justice. The former offices of independent AIBA in Kabul, seized at the end of November, were recently emptied by Taliban officials.
Although some lawyers worked hard to try to prevent the merger, the Taliban went ahead with it. Upon its merger with the Ministry of Justice, the bar association became one of the general directorates of the ministry.
The new leadership of the AIBA appointed by the Taliban has prepared and implemented a procedure establishing how the main activities of the bar association are regulated. The procedure mainly regulates licensing-related matters, the day-to-day business of the bar, and most importantly, the implementation of the Lawyers Law in the country.
The new procedure adopted by the Taliban has brought about great changes in the daily activities of the bar association. Firstly, new applicants for obtaining a bar license must pass two types of tests which are 1) a written test and 2) an oral test. During the written test, the candidate must answer both Islamic and Sharia questions. During the oral test, the candidate must answer certain Islamic questions. According to a colleague who recently obtained the new license from the bar, these questions require reciting verses from the Quran as requested and answering questions related to how to practice five times a day prayers, hadiths as well as the meaning and the interpretation of selected verses of the Quran. During the oral test, the jury considers that the answers have failed or passed. In case of failure, the candidate can return after a certain time to retake the oral test.
Since August last year, no woman has received a new license from the bar. Currently, there are also no known female candidates for the bar after the Taliban came to power.