Taliban unveils hardline Afghan constitution
( Gulfnews ) The Taliban has published a shadow Afghan constitution outlining an alternative hardline government to that of President Hamid Karzai .
The 23-page document envisages a country where women would remain veiled and under-educated, "un-Islamic thought" would be banned and human rights would be ignored if "contrary with the teachings of Islam".
The Constitution of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan comes days after Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, said that the Taliban would need to take a role in the peace process in Afghanistan.
On freedom of speech, the Taliban charter, which is written in Pashto and Dari, is clear: "Every Afghan has the right to express his feelings through his views, writings or through other means in accordance with the law."
However, "un-Islamic thought" is strictly forbidden and "violators will be punished according to sharia " - under the Taliban's strict interpretation of Islamic teachings.
It provides for the education of women, but only within the limits of sharia and stresses that the government would enforce compliance with Sharai Hejab - that women fully cover themselves.
The document also stresses the importance of jihad as an obligation for every citizen. It offers the Taliban's support for the United Nations and upholds human rights - "until it is contrary with the teachings of Islam".
"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wishes good working relations with all the neighbouring countries and specially those who have supported the Afghan nation during jihad," it adds.
The greatest power is vested in an Emir- ul-Momineen , or leader of the faithful. Like its official Afghan counterpart, the constitution states that no law can "be contrary to Islamic sharia ".
The Taliban, which ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 and continues to maintain it is the legitimate government, promulgated harsh, unorthodox edicts.
The constitution was approved by the Taliban's central shura religious council, headed by Mullah Omar, in 2005 but only now has been made public.
Karzai's calls for peace talks earlier this month were rejected by the Taliban.
One of the 110 articles of the Taliban's constitution stipulates that all other constitutions are void.