Winter 2011

2011 Survey of the Afghan People Released In Kabul, Washington, New York, and London

The seventh in our series of the broadest, most comprehensive public opinion polls in Afghanistan has drawn unprecedented attention and response from international policymakers, media, and the public.

Afghanistan in 2011: A Survey of the Afghan People was released November 15 at events in Kabul and Washington DC. For the first time, the survey was also released at subsequent events in New York and in London, where our Afghanistan experts presented the poll’s findings to the UK’s Department for International Development, Chatham House, the Royal United Services Institute, Kings College, and the London School of Economics.

In an opinion editorial in the International Herald Tribune, Foundation trustees Karl Inderfurth and Theodore Eliot noted that optimists are holding steady in Afghanistan (46 percent), though pessimists are on the rise (up from 27 to 35 percent). People who expressed some amount of sympathy for the Taliban has fallen dramatically from 56 percent in 2009 to 29 percent today.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald Neumann, writing in Foreign Policy, said the survey demonstrates “more progress than is admitted by the ‘Afghanistan is hopeless’ crowd, while simultaneously calling into question the more extravagant declarations of those who claim a clear path to success.”

Afghanistan in 2011 covers all 34 provinces in the country. Candid, first-hand data was gleaned from face-to-face interviews with 6,348 Afghan citizens on issues including security, corruption, women’s rights, the economy, development, and the Taliban. This year we created an interactive mapping platform and data visualization tool, Visualizing Afghanistan, which is available on our website, along with vivid slideshows of the polling and of launch events in Kabul, Washington, and New York.

The survey is an independent project of The Asia Foundation, with funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The complete survey report, as well as FAQs, analysis, and links to previous surveys is available at asiafoundation.org/ag2011poll.