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Afghan Men Oppose Aiding U.S., Other Foreign Forces: Poll

Afghans look on as a foreign soldier in a village in Helmand Province in June 2010. BAY ISMOYO/AFP hide caption

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BAY ISMOYO/AFP

An axiom of counterinsurgency is that it's essential for the military force waging the fight against insurgents to get assistance from the general population.

So the results of a recent poll of Afghan men in southern Afghanistan are alarming for those who hope to see the U.S. and other international forces there succeed.

The survey indicated a majority of men in that region oppose working with foreign forces.

And there was more bad news. A majority of the men surveyed said they didn't care if Afghanistan remained a democracy or not, though it was a small majority of 55 percent.

As NPR's Tom Bowman reported for our radio network's newscast:

The poll of more than five hundred Afghan men, taken earlier this summer in Helmand and Kandahar Provinces, shows a troubling picture for the military campaign.

Three quarters of those responding say it's wrong to work with foreign forces. About about the same number say that Afghan government officials in their area are either linked to drug traffickers or the insurgency.

The poll was conducted in June by the International Council on Security and Development, an international think tank.

Researchers say there's a "relationship gap" between NATO and the Afghan people.

The report includes a "good news" section, which says most of those polled favor sending girls to school and do not want the Taliban to return to power.

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