Constitutional Provisions

Article 7 of the 2004 Constitution of Afghanistan obligates the state to "observe the United Nations Charter, inter-state agreements, as well as international treaties to which Afghanistan has joined, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". Article 23 provides that:

Life is the gift of God as well as the natural right of human beings. No one shall be deprived of this except by legal provision.

According to Article 36:

The people of Afghanistan shall have the right to gather and hold unarmed demonstrations, in accordance with the law, for attaining legitimate and peaceful purposes.

Article 134 of the Constitution declares that: "Discovery of crimes shall be the duty of police". 

It is not known whether the Constitution will be amended in light of the Taliban takeover in August 2021.

Treaty Adherence

Global Treaties

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties
1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) State Party
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 Not party
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) State Party
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints No
CAT Optional Protocol 1 State Party
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court State Party


There is no regional human rights treaty to which Central Asian nations can become party. 

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

A 2005 Police Law governs police use of force. According to Article 20, the police may use force under "due circumstance", but should "if possible", use the "lowest degree" of force.

According to Article 23 of the Law, the police cannot use firearms or explosive devices against children.

Article 24 provides that:

The police can apply weapon or explosives against a group of people only if it resorted to offensive acts of disturbing the security by means of arms, and if the use of other means of force applied against them individually has proved ineffective. In this case it is imperative to first announce the use of weapon or explosives by giving at least three verbal warnings followed by three gunshot warnings and that this action should happen within the provisions of the law and be based on a sound decision.

In addition, according to Article 275 of Afghanistan's 1976 Penal Code: "If an official of public services tortures the accused for the purpose of obtaining a confession or issues an order to this effect; he shall be sentenced to long imprisonment." Under paragraph 2: 

If the accused dies as a result of torture, the person committing it shall be sentenced to the punishment of intentional murder as anticipated in this Code.

The Afghan Police Code of Conduct is an ethical commitment and a collection of standards governing the behaviour of police officers. Each officer makes the following commitment:

I will respect the International Declaration of Human Rights and never engage in violence and deviation from my official responsibilities. Also, I am against any form of torture and I will not insult or treat anyone inhumanely.

With respect to use of force: 

I will use force when necessary and only to the extent absolutely required for the performance of my duties. I will never employ unnecessary force or violence. I will use force as a preventive tool only when discussion, negotiation and persuasion have been attempted unsuccessfully. 

Police Oversight

Allegations about violations of the Police Code of Conduct are to be adjudicated by the Ministry of Interior's Disciplinary Panel. Any police officer who is charged with a violation of the Code has the right to be present in sessions when the Disciplinary Panel investigates the issue.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission also has jurisdiction to hear complaints of excessive or indiscriminate police use of force.

Caselaw and Views of Treaty Bodies


Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies

In its 2017 Concluding Observations on Afghanistan, the Committee against Torture urged Afghanistan 

To ensure that all alleged cases of torture and ill-treatment are promptly medically documented in line with the Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Istanbul Protocol);

To ensure that all instances and allegations of torture and ill-treatment are investigated promptly, effectively and impartially by an independent body.


There is no regional human rights court with jurisdiction over police use of force in Afghanistan.


2004 Constitution of Afghanistan

2005 Police Law of Afghanistan

1976 Penal Code

Afghanistan Police Code of Conduct (Afghan original)

Committee against Torture Concluding observations on Afghanistan (2017)