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24 September 2014
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Afghanistan five years on: poll reveals Taleban resurgence


Five years after the fall of Kandahar to Allied Forces, there is clear evidence that Taleban activity in Afghanistan is increasing.

 

BBC World Service - in conjunction with ABC News (USA) - has commissioned an extensive national public opinion poll in Afghanistan, released today.

 

More than four out of 10 Afghans polled report Taleban violence in their own local area, including killings, bombings, torching of schools and government buildings and armed conflict with government or foreign troops.

 

One in six Afghans asked say people in their area provide Taleban fighters with food and money.

 

That jumps to more than a third in the Northwest, nearly half in the country's Southwest provinces overall, and two-thirds specifically in Helmand and Kandahar.

 

The fifth anniversary of the overthrow of the Taleban is 7 December 2006.

 

Seven in 10 Afghans in the poll say they are "grateful" rather than "unhappy" with the presence of British, US and Canadian soldiers in the country.

 

Vast majorities continue to call the invasion a good thing for their country and prefer the current government to its deeply unpopular Taleban predecessor.

 

Eight in 10 support the presence of British, US and other international forces on their soil, compared with five per cent support for Taleban fighters and 11 per cent for jihadi fighters from other countries.

 

However a quarter say US forces should leave within a year, up from 14 per cent from a comparative survey conducted last year.

 

There is concern amongst locals about a host of fresh difficulties: worsening security, slow redevelopment, widespread perceptions of corruption and reduced faith in the government's effectiveness in facing these challenges.

 

Seventy-eight per cent of Afghans call official corruption a problem in the area where they live, according to the poll, and 55 per cent call it a big problem.

 

While 58 per cent say security is better now than under the Taleban, many more (75 per cent) said so in the survey a year ago.

 

Fewer than half - now 43 per cent - say the availability of jobs and economic opportunity have improved compared to the Taleban days.

 

Whatever the problems, 74 per cent of Afghans polled say their overall living conditions today are better now than they were under the Taleban.

 

There is very broad opposition to non-military attacks - majorities from 94 to 97 per cent say attacking government officials, police, schools, teachers and other civilians cannot be justified.

 

Eighty-nine per cent say there can be no justification for suicide bombings.

 

The national poll was conducted via face-to-face interviews with 1,036 randomly selected Afghan adults across the country.

 

It measures local conditions in this poverty-stricken country; security concerns and reactions to increasing violence; the strength or weakness of the government, international forces, the Taleban and local warlords; views of US efforts; the drug trade and women's rights; and a range of other issues.

 

The survey follows a prize-winning poll in Afghanistan conducted by ABC News a year ago - the first news-sponsored survey ever done in that country.

 

BBC World Service Press Office

 

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Category: World Service
Date: 07.12.2006
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