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Most Afghans Optimistic About Future: Poll

Most Afghans Optimistic About Future Poll

KABUL:  With presidential elections approaching and NATO-led troops preparing to leave, a survey found a majority of Afghans seemed optimistic about their future, saying their country was moving in the right direction. More than half of 9,000 Afghans surveyed, 57 percent said Afghanistan was moving in the right direction, the highest number in more than half a decade, according to the nationwide survey released on Thursday by The Asia Foundation, an international development non-profit organization.

The report titled “Afghanistan in 2013: A Survey of the Afghan People” cites reconstruction efforts, better access to education for both men and women, as well as the active presence of Afghan security forces as some of the main reasons for the optimism. The opinion poll also found that people’s satisfaction with the national government’s performance has been gradually rising over the past five years, with three quarters of respondents currently giving Kabul a positive assessment.

“While the survey reveals a strong sense of unease and fear, Afghans are hopeful about the outcome of the upcoming election and the government’s reconciliation efforts to stabilize the country,” Abdullah Ahmadzai, The Asia Foundation’s deputy representative in Afghanistan, told a press conference in Kabul.

According to the poll results, Afghans expressed high levels of satisfaction with several basic services in their community, including education for children, drinking water, and the availability of clinics and hospitals. People also seem to recognise Kabul’s reconciliation efforts with armed groups such as the Taliban.

Most of those surveyed (63 percent) say the government’s efforts can stabilise the country. Moreover, around 75 percent of respondents state that their household economic situation is better now than during the Taliban rule.

Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert based in Washington explained that with the news media’s focus on all the bad news in Afghanistan, it’s easy to forget that many quality of life issues have improved in recent years, especially in Kabul and in the northern and western parts of the country. (PAN)

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