Afghan Optimism

by Dafydd on 1/12/2010 · 2 comments

Guess you might have heard of the BBC/ABC/ARD survey which reports 71% of Afghans think their country is on the right track.

This is a high number, and the details just seem to get better and better. 62% approve of the NATO presence and a massive 68% of the US presence.

The respondents seem pretty evenly split between “send the foreign armies home in 18 months or sooner” and “stay longer than 18 months, or just as long as it takes”.

Karzai’s approval rating was also pretty high.

I expect the respondents were pretty heavily biased to urban centres, but given the low election turnout and pretty credible questions over the whole process can so many people be so happy with Karzai?

While this can remind us westerners that things have often been worse over there, I am cautious before taking the numbers at face value.

Some individual Afghan reactions to the numbers are here.

Oh and:-

The survey was conducted by the Afghan Center for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research (Acsor) based in Kabul. Interviews were conducted in person, in Dari or Pashto, among a random national sample of 1,534 Afghan adults from 11-23 December 2009.


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I am a UK citizen & resident with a long standing interest in Central Asia. This probably has something to do with student days, a late night TV show called 'The Silk Road' and a TV with no remote control. I currently work in software and live with my wife & three children.

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{ 2 comments }

M Shannon January 15, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Even if accurate it depends where the respondents live. Nationally 68% pro US could easily translate into 64% anti-US in the provinces along the Pakistani border.

Besides isn’t having 38% of Afghans not “for” the people (NATO) bringing jobs, cash security and development actually a bad sign?

anan January 17, 2010 at 12:02 am

Shannon, Nangarhar is an unusually pro GIRoA/ISAF province for the Pasthun belt. The ANP seem to be less unpopular in Nangarhar than they are in the rest of the country. Could this be because of the Provincial governor?

The ANA is the only institution that is admired and supported across the Pashtun belt west of the Durand and Nangarhar seems to have similar respect for the ANA.

Your comments about ANA recruitment among the educated in Nangarhar were interesting. Nangarhar seems more educated than the rest of Afghanistan, I would like to know more about why recruitment is low among educated Nangarhar residents.

The ANA doesn’t have a shortage of Pashtun recruits? Do you have any insights into what part of Afghanistan these Pashtuns are coming from?

The 4 year ANA academy also seems very competitive to get in. Not sure why the ANA isn’t getting more funding to increase the size of incoming classes.

Why do you think the ANA, NDS and ANP have been relatively successful in Nangarhar? This is especially remarkable considering the small ANA and ISAF presence compared to other provinces.

Can Nangarhar be replicated in other provinces such as Nuristan, Ghazni and Paktika, where the Taliban is far more popular (let alone Zabul in the South), and the population less educated?

Why have seemingly less foreign fighters come to Nangarhar compared to Nuristan, Kunduz, Khost and Paktya? Is it because foreigners are more radioactive in Nangarhar? Is it because Siraj Haqqani cannot operate effectively in Nangarhar (since many foreign fighters seem to operate through Haqqani.)

I would also love to get your take on the role of Hekmatyur, Haqqani and the Mullah Omar centric QST in Nangarhar. Could we touch base offline?

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