Afghanistan survey finds security, economy major concerns

AP News
Posted: Nov 17, 2015 4:20 AM
Afghanistan survey finds security, economy major concerns

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghans are increasingly concerned about the lack of security and the country's economy amid an escalating war with the Taliban and rising unemployment, a survey released on Tuesday showed.

The San Francisco-based Asia Foundation found that 36.7 percent of respondents in a nationwide survey conducted in June believe Afghanistan is moving in the right direction — a significant drop from 54.7 percent in 2014.

It's the lowest level of optimism recorded by the foundation over the past 10 years. The Asia Foundation has been conducting annual surveys in Afghanistan for over 10 years. For this year's survey, it polled 9,586 Afghan citizens across 34 provinces, both men and women.

"Over half of the population thinks that Afghanistan is moving in the wrong direction," said Sayed Masood Sadat from the foundation as he presented the report in Kabul.

The reasons most often cited are insecurity, unemployment and corruption in the country, he added.

The survey shows that 42.7 percent of those polled are concerned about the lack of security, up from 34.1 percent last year and at its highest level since 2007. The poll had a 1.6 percent margin of error.

This year, Afghanistan is facing major political and security challenges after the withdrawal of international combat troops at the end of 2014. Also, President Ashraf Ghani has been faced with a stepped-up war by the Taliban seeking to topple the government.

The poll found that more than two-thirds, or 67.4 percent of Afghans, report that they "always, often or sometimes fear for their safety" — the highest rate since 2006, according to previous foundation surveys.

Abdullah Ahmadzai, the Asia Foundation's representative in Afghanistan, said he hoped both the Afghan government and the international community can benefit from the finds of the survey.