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For Immediate Release
January 7, 2004

Global Message

From the Department of Defense

In Afghanistan, the Constitutional Loya Jirga (grand council) has approved a proposed constitution.

The constitution's adoption is a significant milestone in Afghanistan's path toward a moderate, democratic society.

The proposed constitution balances power between a strong president, a parliament and an independent judiciary.

The constitution was debated by the loya jirga, which reflects Afghanistan's diversity. The document:

The constitution paves the way for elections in June, in which voters will elect a president and two vice presidents.

The loya jirga is of comprised of 502 Afghans, including 114 women; Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks; and previously neglected minorities such as refugees, Hindus, Sikhs and nomads.

The supplemental bill recently signed by President Bush includes about $1.7 billion in assistance for Afghanistan. Some 11,000 U.S. service members, 2,000 Coalition forces, and 5,000 International Security Assistance Forces were deployed in Afghanistan. The troops will provide security and stability so the constitutional process can go forward.

The United States and its Coalition partners will continue to hunt down remnants of the Taliban regime and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

The United States remains steadfast in its support of Afghanistan.

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