Afghan Approval of the Karzai Government and Western Forces,Though Still Strong, Is Declining
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As 2006 draws to a close, observers of Afghanistan generally agree that conditions there are worsening. Security has deteriorated, making it harder to deliver economic assistance. The Taliban has stepped up its activities, demonstrating an ability to fight pitched battles with foreign military forces and copying some of the terrorist methods used by Iraqi insurgents. Increasing opium poppy cultivation has made it more difficult to carry out development projects and improve the economic well being of the Afghan people. Corruption on the part of central government officials is another obstacle that may hinder efforts by the government of President Hamid Karzai to extend its authority throughout the country. Observers are also concerned about the long-term loyalties of the people of Afghanistan. If the government, with the help of western countries, is not able over time to provide either security or economic well being, it may lose the support of the Afghan population. Consequently, a debate is in progress over how the international community should help Afghanistan. Should military assistance have primacy? Or should economic aid be the priority? The Afghan people’s reservoir of goodwill may evaporate if they do not see more improvement in their lives. This survey puts these issues to Afghans themselves. Do they see progress being made? Or do they believe their country is headed toward another crisis? How do they feel about their government and about the foreign military forces that fight on its behalf? Do they believe more military help is key to their future? Or would they prefer a greater emphasis on aid designed to rebuild their war-torn country? To answer these questions, the Program on International Policy Attitudes conducted a poll, fielded by ACSOR/D3 Systems, Inc., that interviewed 2,089 Afghan adults over November 13-24, 2006 using a nationwide probability sample Interviews were conducted in 32 of 34 provinces in Afghanistan; two provinces, Zabul and Uruzghan representing about 2.3 percent of the Afghan population, were excluded for security reasons. The poll has a sampling error of +/- 3.5 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.