Under some rather undemocratic circumstances Afghanistan's loya jirga has made the final approval of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Last Thursday the vote had been frustrated when 200 of the 502 delegates had boycotted the row call. This is cause for some paper optimism, as that's all it is for the time being: an optimistic piece of paper. There is little reason to expect much in the way of the advancement of women's rights, though given the low expectations it's apparently better than expected. Regardless of the piece of paper the warlords continue to control most of the country, the drug trade continues enriching the same, the Taliban is apparenlty still resurgent, and I don't see much reason to believe that this constitution will be anything more than the formalization of already existing power in Afghanistan: the cause for optimism is that the constitution is an indication that existing elites will be willing to play nice with an arbitrater in Kabul, preventing a replay of the 90s civil war.