The weary hope of Afghans 67

Afghans have been asked their opinions. A lot of them prefer the Taliban to the US.

How free and safe they felt to say what they thought, we are not told. But here are some of the results of the poll, as reported by the Washington Post:

Afghans are more pessimistic about the direction of their country, less confident in the ability of the United States and its allies to provide security and more willing to negotiate with the Taliban than they were a year ago, according to a new poll conducted in all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

Nationwide, more than half of Afghans interviewed said U.S. and NATO forces should begin to leave the country in mid-2011 or earlier. More Afghans than a year ago see the United States as playing a negative role in Afghanistan, and support for President Obama’s troop surge has faded. A year ago, 61 percent of Afghans supported the deployment of 30,000 additional U.S. troops. In the new poll, 49 percent support the move, with 49 percent opposed.

They hope for the highly improbable:

We want the Afghan forces to be able to control security so the foreign forces can leave,” said Mohamed Neim Nurzai, 40, a farmer from Farah province who participated in the poll.

For all the effort put in by US forces to “win the hearts and minds” of the Afghans, the US is more hated now than it was last year

More than a quarter of Afghans again say attacks against U.S. and other foreign military forces are justifiable.

Overall, nearly three-quarters of Afghans now believe their government should pursue negotiations with the Taliban, with almost two-thirds willing to accept a deal allowing Taliban leaders to hold political office.

Whether out of certain experience, wishful thinking, or weary hope, “nearly a third of adults see the Taliban as more moderate today than they were when they ruled the country.”

And if the Taliban proves itself more moderate when it returns to power, and if Afghan forces show they can control security – two very big ifs – would that be enough for the Obama administration to claim a US victory?

It would have to be.

The US can hardly expect anything more, and the sad thing is it’s highly unlikely to get even that much.

Posted under Afghanistan, Commentary, Defense, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, December 6, 2010

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