Sur­vey shows hint of op­ti­mism, Ghani backed

Bangkok Post - - ASIA -

KABUL: More than 60% of Afghans still be­lieve the coun­try is headed in the wrong di­rec­tion, but signs of bet­ter gov­er­nance and re­build­ing has slightly lifted the na­tional mood, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by the Asia Foun­da­tion.

Just over half of the 10,000 peo­ple sur­veyed said they had con­fi­dence in Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani’s govern­ment, which has strug­gled to es­tab­lish se­cu­rity in the face of a grow­ing Tal­iban in­sur­gency. Last year, just un­der half of Afghans said they had con­fi­dence in Mr Ghani.

How­ever, nearly 39% of those sur­veyed said they would be will­ing to leave if they had the op­por­tu­nity, the sec­ond high­est fig­ure in the sur­vey’s more than decade­long his­tory.

The main rea­son was in­creased se­cu­rity con­cerns. More than 70% of Afghans fear for their per­sonal safety.

At­tacks are up across the coun­try. In May, more than 150 peo­ple were killed by a blast in Kabul’s diplo­matic zone — one of the dead­li­est since the Tal­iban’s ouster in 2001.

On the day the sur­vey was re­leased, more than 20 po­lice­men were killed in fight­ing with Tal­iban in­sur­gents in the south­ern prov­ince of Kan­da­har.

The sur­vey which was con­ducted in all 34 prov­inces of Afghanistan in July, pri­mar­ily in ru­ral house­holds, pointed to a mixed pic­ture, with steady gains in ed­u­ca­tion and health over the past decade and a half matched by con­tin­u­ing con­cern over cor­rup­tion, unem­ploy­ment and se­cu­rity.

Around a third of Afghans, or 33%, be­lieve the coun­try was head­ing in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion, up slightly from 29.3% last year to buck a years-long de­clin­ing trend.

“Af­ter a his­toric de­cline in 2016, con­fi­dence in pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions has slightly im­proved; grow­ing con­fi­dence in the Afghan Na­tional Se­cu­rity Forces sta­bilised in 2017,” Ab­dul­lah Ah­madzai, Asia Foun­da­tion’s coun­try rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Afghanistan said in a state­ment.

The in­crease in op­ti­mism ap­plied across eth­nic groups ex­cept Uzbeks, who make an im­por­tant mi­nor­ity in Pash­tun and Ta­jik dom­i­nated Afghanistan.

While there was a slight rise in pos­i­tive sen­ti­ment, it was down sig­nif­i­cantly from a peak in 2013 be­fore the with­drawal of most for­eign forces. Back then nearly 60% of Afghans were pos­i­tive about their fu­ture.

The sur­vey comes as the US in Au­gust an­nounced a boost in troops to Afghanistan, which could push op­ti­mism higher in the com­ing months.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Thailand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.