December 12, 2010:
A recent opinion survey conducted in Afghanistan by the Afghan Center for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research found that 74 percent of Afghans saw the Taliban as the greatest danger facing the country, followed by drug dealers (14 percent). Thus it's not surprising that 73 percent favored peace negotiations with the Taliban (up from 60 percent three years ago).
Despite their warlike reputation (largely deserved), Afghans favor negotiation if it appears that the fighting is not going to bring a quick resolution. Despite that, 23 percent favored continuing to fight the Taliban. Despite the Afghan hostility to foreign troops, 62 percent favored the presence of American troops, and 54 percent favored the presence of other NATO troops. Yet 27 percent of Afghans back attacks on foreign troops, compared to 19 percent last year.
Despite all the violence, 59 percent thought the country was on the right track and 69 percent thought their living conditions were good overall (compared to 71 percent last year). Afghans saw the biggest problems in the country as poor security, poor economy, weak government and corruption. Keep in mind that for most Afghans, the Taliban are just something they hear about happening in the south. But for all Afghans, the lack of security and jobs, poor government and corruption are very much local and immediate issues.
The survey asked 1,691 men and women 150 questions. The margin of error (either way) was 3.5 percent.