Tue, Oct 18, 2011 | Der Spiegel
More than Half of Afghans See Western Alliance as Occupiers
More than 50 percent of Afghans see the Western Alliance (ISAF / NATO) as occupying forces and a fully 60 percent of Afghans fear that the country will descend into civil war once the Western forces leave Afghanistan. A new survey carried out be the Konrad Adenauer Foundation has found that the amount of anxiety and fear is increasing in Afghanistan rather than hope.
According to a report in Der Spiegel on Tuesday, “10 years after NATO entered Afghanistan to drive out al-Qaida and beat back the Taliban, a majority of the local population has come to see the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) as little more than occupiers.”
The Konrad Adenauer Foundation published a survey on Tuesday which shows that “56 percent of Afghans now see the foreign troop contingent as an occupying force. Furthermore, only 39 percent of those surveyed said they saw ISAF as a guarantee for security, well down from the 45 percent result found in the same survey in 2010. Fully 60 percent think that the country will descend into civil war once NATO forces withdraw.”
The head of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s Afghanistan office, Babak Khalatbari, said that the survey results were “a matter of concern” and “in Afghanistan, there appears to be an increasing amount of anxiety and fear rather than hope.”
The survey has been completed each year since 2008 and is carried out in conjunction with the National Centre for Policy Research at the University of Kabul. Some 5,000 Afghans were interviewed in five provinces in late September. Though the Konrad Adenauer Foundation warns that the poll is not strictly representative, the results are broadly consistent with the impression most in the West have about Afghanistan: The situation appears to be worsening, according to the report in Der Spiegel.
Since the US and NATO marched into Afghanistan in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, many in the West have begun to see the mission as a failure. Security in the country is perceived as fragile and the Taliban are far from subdued. But NATO released a report on Saturday indicating that the number of Taliban attacks has dropped sharply in recent months compared to the same late summer period in 2010.
According to the Der Spiegel report, Afghans also have an increasingly negative view of the Taliban. In 2010, 74 percent of those surveyed were in favor of talks with the Islamists; this year, that number has dropped to 63 percent. Only 51 percent would be in favor of granting the Taliban a share of power in the country, down 10 percentage points from last year.
The survey likewise did not reflect well on Afghanistan’s political leadership under President Hamid Karzai. Just 31 percent of those surveyed are pleased with the work of their government.
Read full article in Der Spiegel here.