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The 2004 Constitution and a dedicated 2008 law prohibit terrorism. Capital punishment may be imposed for certain terrorist offences. The takeover by the Taliban in August 2021 has fuelled fears of a resurgence of international terrorism from Afghanistan. In 1999, the Taliban was designated as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations Security Council in its Resolution 1267, as a result of providing a safe haven for terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.    

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

Article 7 of Afghanistan's 2004 Constitution requires the State to "prevent all kinds of terrorist activities". A 2008 law on countering terrorism defined terrorism as crimes mentioned in the law that are committed

in order to affect the political affairs of the Government of Afghanistan, a foreign Government, national or international organizations or to destabilize the Government system of Afghanistan or of a foreign government.

The predicate crimes referred to in the 2008 Law include those set forth in the global terrorism treaties such as hijacking, hostage-taking, use of explosive devices, including against public or private property, and other offences against the person. 

At the time of writing, it was unclear whether the 2004 Constitution or the 2008 Law would remain in place or, if they did, the extent to which they would be enforced.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties

Afghanistan is a State Party to all of the major global terrorism treaties.

Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State Party

At regional level, it is not known if Afghanistan has yet ratified the 1999 Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Convention on Combating International Terrorism. A Protocol to the 1999 Convention has been under discussion for several years but has not yet been adopted.

Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1999 OIC Convention on Combating International Terrorism Status unknown
SAARC 1987 Regional Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism State Party
2004 Protocol to the SAARC Terrorism Convention Status unknown

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

A person who seeks to compel conduct by the Government of Afghanistan by taking a hostage or kidnapping them shall be sentenced to "long-term" imprisonment. Art.12(1), 2008 Law on Countering Terrorism. If the detained person is injured or killed, the perpetrator shall be sentenced to life imprisonment or execution. Art.12(2), 2008 Law on Countering Terrorism. If the detainee is physically or psychologically harmed, the perpetrator shall be sentenced to long-term imprisonment of between six and ten years. Art.12(3), 2008 Law on Countering Terrorism.

The jurisdictional reach of the 2008 Law is broad, extending outside the territory of Afghanistan where the offence is committed against a citizen of Afghanistan or other individuals residing in Afghanistan or against Afghanistan’s interests outside of the country; inside or against an aircraft registered in Afghanistan; inside or against a ship carrying a flag of Afghanistan; inside or against a diplomatic mission of Afghanistan is located or against the facilities belonging to the Government of Afghanistan; or against a person working with the Government of Afghanistan. Art.4, 2008 Law on Countering Terrorism.


2008 Law on Countering Terrorism