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Afghan Survey: Security Forces Need Foreign Troop Support

by VOA News November 14, 2012

More than half of Afghan citizens polled in a new survey say their country is moving in the right direction, while about two-thirds say the national police and army cannot operate without the support of foreign troops.

The U.S.-based Asia Foundation released its annual survey Wednesday, saying 52 percent of Afghans had a positive feeling about the country's direction. That figure is up from 46 percent last year, but the group cautioned the results may under-report people with negative feelings because security concerns limited access to some areas.

Most respondents said they think the army and police are honest and fair, but two years before the withdrawal of international combat troops, a majority said the security forces cannot operate on their own.

Afghans cited security concerns, unemployment and corruption as the biggest problems facing the country.

On Wednesday, police said Taliban insurgents shot and killed two men who worked as interpreters for NATO forces.

Authorities say insurgents left the translators' bodies next to their car on the side of the road in Logar province. The men were said to be on their way to work at Camp Shank, a coalition outpost.

In the Asia Foundation annual survey, those who were optimistic about Afghanistan's future most often cited improvements in security and reconstruction as their reasons for their positive feelings.

The government's push for peace and reconciliation received a large amount of support, with 81 percent of those polled saying they agree with those efforts. Meanwhile, nearly a third of respondents said they have sympathy for armed opposition groups.

The Asia Foundation conducted in-person interviews with 6,290 Afghans in all 34 provinces between June 17 and July 1 of this year.

The group said the survey was done with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development, Britain's Foreign Office and the Australian Agency for International Development.

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