BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 14:42 GMT
Afghans' hopes and fears for the future
A montage of photos of Afghan life

An opinion poll commissioned by the BBC suggests that most Afghans are relatively hopeful about their future, although less so compared with a year ago.

They also support the current Afghan government and the presence of overseas troops, and oppose the Taleban.

Here, people in Afghanistan discuss the biggest problems they face and their hopes for a better life.

ZARDASHT AHMADI, CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, KABUL

The security situation is deteriorating on a daily basis, even though the US and their allies are trying to minimise the terrorist threat.

Today, we see the grandchildren of extremists from the past killing innocent people and destroying the country.

Many people don't feel safe to join the Afghan National Army due to lack of funding for uniforms and proper equipment.

In my perception, there isn't an Afghanistan government - there is a Kabul government. Our government only controls Kabul city and sometimes even Kabul comes under direct attacks from the Taleban.

Afghanistan's current leaders are not aggressive towards corruption, terrorism and crime
The rest of the country, especially the countryside, is under the control of the enemies. I doubt there would be broad peace and unity among Afghan people as long as they live in our society.

President Karzai's administration is not fair towards its people. You have to know someone in the government in order to get something done. Otherwise, you have to pay bribes.

People's needs haven't been fulfilled by the current administration and because of this I am pessimistic about the future of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan's current leaders are not aggressive towards corruption, terrorism and crime. They are only excited about filling up their pockets.

And if life gets tough, they can leave the country, once again providing an opportunity for their fellow wolves, who are currently barking from the peaks of the mountains.

NABEELA HOMI, HOUSEWIFE, KABUL

If you look at the city, you will see some positive changes. There are bigger buildings and more roads are paved.

Nabeela Homi
Nabeela: The security and financial situation bring a lot of tension
But if you look at the security situation and the people's psychological state, things are much worse. When children leave the house, their mothers are constantly worrying that something might happen to them.

Our financial problems are getting worse day by day. I have four children. I was never formally educated and do not work outside the house. My husband is a retired doctor and his pension is $50 a month.

My son has a university degree and speaks six languages, but he can't find a job. My other son and two daughters were born with mental disabilities, so they cannot work as well.

We have no electricity for most of the day and no clean water. And we are lucky - our family is a middle class family. We are much better off than other people.

There are some positive changes - more hospitals and schools are being opened, but these are small benefits compared to the bigger problems we face.

I hope for peace, so that we can live a normal life without fearing for our safety.

I fear what's going to happen to Afghanistan. Maybe there will be more fighting and explosions, or even worse - the Taleban might rise again to power.

JAMSHED ARYAN, 20, BAGHLAN PROVINCE

Jamshed Aryan
Jamshed: If the Taleban are defeated, everything will be fine
There have been positive and negative changes in the last year. We've seen tremendous construction, done mostly by the private sector.

The government has constructed a few road networks, which are quite significant for the economy of Afghanistan.

A journey from the border with Pakistan to Kabul now takes only three hours, compared with seven or eight in the past.

But there are many more negative things. The opium cultivation has increased throughout the country.

There is corruption in all government institutions - the judiciary being the most corrupt institution in the country.

Our most important need is the need for security. If we have better security we can develop businesses and acquire education.

The foreign forces in Afghanistan are doing a great job by fighting the rebels and training the Afghan National Police and the army.

Afghans are happy and they would like them to stay in Afghanistan for a long time.

My biggest fear is that Afghanistan might fall into the hands of the Taleban. I hope that President Musharraf stops the militants entering Afghanistan that Iran stops providing weapons and finances to the Taleban.

If the Taleban are defeated for good, this country will be a much better place to live.

SURAYA HAIDERY, PRESIDENT OF BEAUTICIANS UNION OF KABUL

Suraya Haidery
Suraya thinks that life is better now
There have been some positive changes. There is more infrastructure in the countryside and more girls can now attend school.

Things are altogether so much better since the fall of the Taleban. During the Taleban I used to work as a beautician secretly. Now I can openly practise my job.

It is safer now than it was a year ago. The ANP (Afghan National Police) and the ANA (Afghan National Army) are more stable and developed and have been able to increase the security both in and outside Kabul.

Now women are able to go out at night to wedding parties or dinner.

But things are far from perfect. We still need peace - peace is the most important thing. After that is a good education for our children. And I personally would like to own my own house.

There are still a lot of problems facing Afghan women: lack of jobs, difficulties working out of the house and not being able to work after dark.

Although general security has improved, there have been more suicide attacks in the last year.

The presence of foreign forces has made things better. They have helped improved our security, health care and education.

My only hope is for peace for my country. And my biggest fear are the suicide attacks and the return of the Taleban.

YAQUB AHMADZAI, 25, COMPUTER OPERATOR, MAZAR-E-SHARIF

Yaqub Ahmadzai
Yaqub: The lack of security is our biggest problem
All the changes happening in our lives are for the worse. There are more corrupt people in the government and the warlords are still in power.

Our most pressing need is the need for security. If we have security, everything else will be fine. The problem is, it is not only not getting better, it is getting worse all the time.

The foreign forces are supposed to work to improve the situation, but they kill innocent people. People are very angry about this.

If they don't control civilian casualties they will face even worse attacks and people will turn against them.

These days the Taleban have a strong support from Iran and the tribal areas of Pakistan.

It is well known that Iran supplies weapons and food to the Taleban, who are present everywhere in the country, even in Kabul.

We still have hope for a better future but if things are going like this, then neither we nor the next generation will be able to leave the 18th Century.

HAFEEZ MOHIBI, 28, TV STATION TRANSLATOR, KABUL

Life in Afghanistan changed for the better after 11 September: many more people have access to education and health, there's been lots of reconstruction and most importantly, the rule of the Taleban has ended.

But we have many urgent problems and the biggest one is lack of security.

The presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan is in favour of the Afghan people. If they are not here, there'll be lots of fighting.

It is true that many innocent people have been killed in air strikes by US forces, but I still believe that without them there would be no security at all because right now we are experiencing the most dangerous situation - even more dangerous than during the Taleban rule.

The Taleban are also part of the Afghan people and in my opinion they should be called to the negotiating table.

Corruption is also a pressing issue, especially for the poor people. We can't process our legal paperwork without paying bribes to officials.

The only thing that gives me hope that life for the next generation will be better is the support from the international community, especially from the US and UK, to uproot the danger of warlords and opium.

(Interviews and photos with Nabeela Homi and Suraya Haidery by Elissa Bogos, photographer working in Afghanistan)

SEE ALSO
Afghan optimism for future fading
03 Dec 07 |  South Asia
Country profile: Afghanistan
03 Aug 07 |  Country profiles
Afghan army to 'treble in size'
02 Dec 07 |  South Asia
'Bin Laden message' to Europeans
29 Nov 07 |  South Asia

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific