In a new opinion poll, Afghans have rated India as the most favorable foreign country in Afghanistan and have rejected a role for Pakistan in their country.
The opinion poll, commissioned by by BBC, ABC and German TV ARD, also shows a sharp decline in support for the Taliban.
According to the findings, 71 percent of more than 1,500 Afghans questioned endorsed India’s multifarious role in the reconstruction of the strife-torn country.
India was followed by Germany (59 percent), the US (51 percent), Iran (50 percent) and Britain (39 percent). Pakistan was found to be the least popular country, with only two percent of Afghans viewing its role favourably.
India has pledged $1.3 billion for a wide array of reconstruction activities ranging from education to building roads, bridges, power stations to digging tubewells, and grassroot development projects.
This broad sweep of developments projects has earned India enormous goodwill among ordinary Afghans.
The poll decisively rebuffs Pakistan’s oft-voiced propaganda pitch that India’s growing profile in Afghanistan was part of the problem, and not the solution.
The survey was conducted in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan between Dec 11-23, 2009. It’s based on in-person interviews with a random national sample of 1,534 Afghan adults during that period.
The results have a 3-point error margin. The field work has been done by the Afghan Center for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research (ACSOR) in Kabul.
The poll also found Afghans increasingly optimistic about the future of their country.
Months after the second Hamid Karzai government was formed in Kabul following a closely contested election, 70 percent said they believed Afghanistan was going in the right direction – a sharp increase from 40 percent a year ago.
The poll also brought to the fore the growing unpopularity of the Taliban in Afghanistan with only six percent of people polled saying they favoured a Taliban administration. Ninety percent said they wanted their country run by the current government.
–Indo-Asian News Service