Afghans concerned over security, jobs: Survey
KABUL (Pajhwok): A survey released on Tuesday said the number of Afghans, who feel their country is moving in the wrong direction, has risen this year.
The San Francisco-based Asia Foundation found 54.7 percent of Afghans think the country is moving in the right direction, down from 57.2 percent last year, while the number who feel the opposite - 40.4 percent - is up from last year's 37.9 percent.
Security, corruption and unemployment were among the major concerns facing Afghans, it found in the survey of 9,271 people, conducted in June and July across Afghanistan's 34 provinces.
It found fear for safety has risen significantly in the past year, to 65.4 percent, from 59 percent last year. More than 76 percent of Afghans said they would be afraid when traveling around the country.
Almost as many, 72 percent, said that efforts by the government to reconcile with insurgent groups would help bring stability after more than 30 years of war.
The Asia Foundation has been conducting surveys in Afghanistan for 10 years. For this year's research it contacted members of 14 ethnic groups, with 50.1 percent of respondents male and 49.9 percent female.
The survey also found the national mood one of "cautious optimism" reflecting hopes among ordinary Afghans that the change of government will bring improvements to quality of life issues, including access to education and health care.
“Despite the tremendous gains for women since 2001, Afghan women today continue to face significant challenges, including barriers to political and economic participation,” the survey said.
This year’s findings come at a critical time and are particularly useful for Afghans and the international community during the current transition, including the September inauguration of President Ashraf Ghani, the formation of a unity government and the limited presence of foreign troops at the end of 2014.
“A unique lens into Afghan public opinion, this year’s survey reflects the recent political transition and expectations for change,” said Abdullah Ahmadzai, currently representing The Asia Foundation in Afghanistan.
“Roughly two-thirds of Afghans are hopeful that the result of the recent election will improve their lives, and most believe that the government’s reconciliation efforts with armed opposition groups will increase stability in the country. Economic issues and corruption also play a major role in shaping Afghan public opinion.”
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