Asia Foundation Afghan poll reveals increased pessimism

A group of burqa-clad Afghan women walk along the shore at The Band-e-Qargha Gulestan Park in Kabul on October 14, 2011
Image caption The survey interviewed more than 6,300 Afghan citizens

More Afghans than at any time since 2004 believe their country is moving in the wrong direction, an annual poll by US group The Asia Foundation reveals.

While 46% think their country is moving in the right direction, 35% disagreed, an 8% jump compared with last year.

Growing insecurity was the main reason for increasing pessimism, the group found. It began Afghan polling in 2004.

The 2011 survey found more people satisfied with education, water and health provision than before.

Sympathy for armed militant groups such as the Taliban fell to 29% from 40% in 2010, the lowest level recorded by the Asia Foundation.

The survey also showed considerable public support for efforts to reach out and make peace with militant groups.

The findings come just months after a UN report said there had been a considerable rise in violent incidents in Afghanistan this year, particularly in the south and south-east.

The Asia Foundation survey appeared to reflect this, with residents of those areas expressing the highest degree of uncertainty.

The survey interviewed more than 6,300 Afghan citizens across all of the country's 34 provinces.

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