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The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between the Islamic religio-order and the fledgling democratic institutions in contemporary Afghanistan. This paper challenges the predominant notion that Islam and democracy are not compatible in Afghanistan by producing a historical account that traces the history of the Afghan religio-order in relation to the ever-changing political sphere. I argue that the Afghan religio-order has historically been co-opted and controlled by Afghan political institutions, no matter what political and ideological system was in place. The legitimation of the political sphere by the Islamic religio-order reveals that Islamic authority and legitimacy given to political institutions is shaped by political interests as opposed to religious doctrine. Finally, this paper builds on the historical analysis to argue that the contemporary Islamic democratic system provides for the first time in contemporary Afghan history an autonomous Islamic religio-order via the Afghan judiciary.
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