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Are Afghans Really Happy? (Questioning the Recent Poll Results)

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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:39 PM
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Are Afghans Really Happy? (Questioning the Recent Poll Results)
Source: Global Post

KABUL, Afghanistan There is a loud sound of head-scratching in Kabul these days as Afghans and foreigners alike ponder the results of a poll conducted jointly by ABC News, the BBC and German television company ARD.

According to the survey, 70 percent of Afghans believe their country is going in the right direction. A similar number have faith in their government, support the presence of the foreign troops and say that their living situation is generally pretty good.

But the prevailing mood in the country does not seem to support the published results.


But while Western news outlets broadcast the soaring optimism in Afghanistan, those actually in the country are having none of it.

This is not the reality that I am hearing, said Alex Strick van Linschoten, author and researcher who has spent more than four years in Afghanistan, much of it in the south. I spend all day every day talking to Afghans, and all they say is that they are depressed and want to leave the country.

Van Linschoten acknowledges the difficulty of conducting public opinion research in Afghanistan, given the rising insecurity, suspicion of outsiders and fear of prying eyes and ears.

If you want to get useful information from an Afghan you have to spend hours with him, said van Linschoten. You only get really honest answers after the second or third meeting.

The average interview, according to Warshaw, lasted about 30 minutes.

While Warshaw insists that interviewers were recruited from among the local population to minimize suspicion, Afghans say that it made little difference.

Most Afghans saw the interviewers as spies, said one Afghan BBC journalist, speaking privately. They would not say anything against the Americans, because they were afraid that soldiers would come and raid them in the middle of the night.

Polling figures showed that almost 70 percent of Afghans say they support the presence of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, while anecdotal evidence indicates that resistance is growing to what is increasingly seen as foreign occupation.

Photos from the interviews show that a good number were conducted on the street, since in many parts of the country Afghans do not let strangers into their homes. The interviewer and his subject would squat on the ground, Afghan-style, and crowds of onlookers would gather round.

Who will say anything against the government with his neighbors watching? laughed the BBC journalist.

This, of course, is supposing that the interviews were actually conducted.

My experience of polling in Afghanistan has been that the interviews are almost always faked, said van Linschoten. The interviewers want the money for the poll, but they do not see the need to actually conduct the interviews, when they know nobody will give them a straight answer anyway.

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invictus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:48 PM
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1. Who wouldn't love having their homes bombed by the good ole U S of A?
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Arctic Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:38 PM
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2. The term is "under duress", if you can't see it then you are part of the problem
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