Page last updated at 17:44 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010

Afghanistan's poll: Your voices

A BBC poll commissioned with ABC News and Germany's ARD suggests that Afghans are increasingly confident about the future. The BBC has spoken to Afghans to get their reaction to the poll.


Baz Mohammad Aryubmal

The survey says that the people of Afghanistan are optimistic but we're not optimistic at all. We were hopeful in 2001 when we believed Afghanistan would prosper but with the civilian deaths and the corruption that followed, people have changed their minds.

The foreign forces bomb our villages and raid our houses at night. The West needs to remember that when one person is killed, there are many who mourn. People in Kabul are often mourning for their dead relatives from rural areas.

People are not just killed but imprisoned - I can promise you that most people held in US jails here have nothing to do with the Taliban. They are victims of conspiracies made up by people from their own villages.

In Afghanistan there are many private hostilities between families that go back a long way. Villagers use foreign forces to vindicate themselves of these and innocent Afghans end up in jail.


The people who should really be tried are the warlords who are now part of our government. The corruption is rife and nothing has changed in regards to drug trafficking, so people ask themselves why the government isn't doing anything to stop this.

The economy is doing well in urbanised areas but there are rural areas with high unemployment and where people are literally starving. People don't have food, don't have work and often they have friends or relatives who have suffered at the hands of foreign forces.

This is how young people turn to the Taliban - they get food and money, and they believe they're doing a good thing by fighting for freedom. We need to get rid of corruption and to adopt new strategies for this to change.


Sultan Mahmood

We have things now in Afghanistan that we couldn't even conceive of before. We have computers, universities and hospitals.

Of course we have our problems. Corruption is the biggest, we can see it in NGOs and in the government too. We're also seeing lots of civilian casualties, elderly people and children alike. Both the Taliban and the foreign troops kill our people. Our villages get bombed in the name of security and our people die.


A lot of money is spent on foreign troops. If half of that money was invested in the Afghan army, it would go very far. People respect Afghan troops more, they associate with them. Some of that money should also be spent in development projects, improving hospitals and roads.

But overall things are getting better. There are now lots of small industries growing in Mazar-e-Sharif and the economy is getting stronger. We've definitely progressed and I'm optimistic about the future.


I'm surprised by the results of this survey because if you watch the media or go to certain parts of the country you see a very different picture. Every day people are killed. I think the survey must have been given a Western slant to promote Afghanistan and show Afghans that they are doing the right thing.

The Taliban will get stronger if the US doesn't change its policies
Mohammad Latif

The recent elections were corrupt and many people don't want Dr Karzai in power. People are angry at the corruption and lack of security in the country.

While the economy is working well for the rich, the poor people are getting even poorer. At the start of the war in 2001, people had very different hopes for the country and supported the work the US were doing. They hoped it would end corruption and finish off the narcotics industry, and that it would bring safety and security to the country.


Since then, there has been more and more anger towards the troops because they are not delivering what was promised.

I don't think this reflects directly in favour of the Taliban because people who don't support the troops don't want the Taliban either, but it could make the Taliban more confident.

There are big problems ahead and that the Taliban will get stronger if the US doesn't change its policies. Barack Obama needs to start respecting the Afghan people and involving them in every decision.


Mumtaz Ahmad

Some of the realities we face on a daily basis are harsh but soon this will be a peaceful country. People are fed up and the Taliban is losing support, they're getting tired of fighting.

People want education and basic health care and they don't believe the Taliban would be able to give them this. There was a lot of misery here when they were in power.

Things have been hard. We were at war for years and it takes time to come out of that. Now things are getting better and the economy has improved dramatically.

I'm not surprised that many people in the survey didn't think democracy was the best form of governance for Afghanistan. There are lots of sensitivities here and we couldn't just adopt a Western style of democracy, we would have to create our own style.

We need to respect religion and people's traditions and we can't allow them to be made fun of.

But if we amalgamate Islamic values, traditions and what we've learned from our history to create our own style of democracy, it will work. We must not force Western values onto Afghanistan - we've got a complex setting here and we need to respect all its facets.

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