The Rule of Law in Afghanistan represents the voices and experiences of more than 3,000 people in Afghanistan and their experiences with the rule of law in their country. View the report.


The Rule of Law in Afghanistan: Key Findings from the 2018 Extended General Population Poll presents select findings from a nationally representative World Justice Project survey conducted in Afghanistan in September 2018.

The General Population Poll was conducted through face-to-face interviews in 3,006 urban and rural households distributed proportionally across all 34 provinces of Afghanistan. This poll was designed for the WJP Rule of Law Index® to measure the rule of law from the perspective of ordinary citizens, including their experiences and perceptions related to government accountability, bribery and corruption, crime, and access to justice.

Whereas the WJP’s flagship Rule of Law Index offers aggregate rule of law scores, this report presents disaggregated question-level data as 10 thematic briefs to highlight different facets of the rule of law as it is experienced by the population in Afghanistan. These briefs touch upon issues of accountability, corruption, fundamental freedoms, crime victimization, criminal and civil justice, as well as the role of women in Afghan society. Together, these briefs offer an in-depth account of rule of law in Afghanistan and can be used to better understand the state of the country as it is manifested in the day-to-day lives of its citizens.

Key Findings

  • Perceptions of Government Accountability: There is a high perception of impunity in Afghanistan. Perceptions of government accountability vary across regions, with the Southwest region having the most positive perception of accountability and the Capital region having the least positive perception.
  • Corruption Across Institutions: Afghans believe that a significant number of authorities are involved in corrupt practices. For the fifth year in a row, Afghans perceived judges and magistrates to be the most corrupt authority.  
  • Bribery Victimization: Petty bribery is pervasive in Afghanistan. Nearly half of Afghans have paid a bribe to process a government permit and over a third to receive police assistance, though rates vary by region and by service.
  • Fundamental Freedoms: Afghans’ views of political and media freedoms in the country have declined since 2017.
  • Crime Victimization: Households in Afghanistan experience high rates of armed robbery, burglary, and murder. However, there are large differences in victimization rates across the six regions of Afghanistan. There have also been slight declines in reported rates of all three crimes between 2013 and 2017.
  • Criminal Justice: Corruption continues to be considered a very serious and growing problem for the criminal justice system in Afghanistan. Corruption was cited as the most serious problem facing both investigative services and criminal courts in Afghanistan for the third year in a row. In terms of overall accountability in the criminal justice system, perceptions of the police and courts are mixed.
  • Legal Awareness: Afghans have a moderate amount of legal knowledge. On average, women and men had the same level of legal awareness in 2018.
  • Access to Civil Justice: More than half of Afghans experienced a legal problem between 2016 and 2017 and nearly half reported that this legal problem led to hardship, such as a stress related illness, the breakdown of a relationship, or the loss of employment or need to relocate. Nearly one third of Afghans who experienced a legal problem reported that one party resorted to physical violence in the course of dealing with the dispute.
  • Women in Afghan Society: There are minor differences in men and women’s views regarding the rights of women when it comes to inheritance and divorce, but the perception gap grows for questions related to women’s role in the community and household dynamics.
  • Trust in Afghanistan: Afghans have a high degree of trust in fellow citizens. Across institutions, Afghans have the most trust in the police and the least trust in the courts. Since 2013, respondents’ reported level of trust has declined across institutions.

Survey Instruments Download