(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – The number of people in Afghanistan thinking that their country is heading in the right direction has decreased since mid-2009, according to a poll by the International Republican Institute (IRI). 56 per cent of respondents say things are going well, down six points since last July.

Afghanistan has been the main battleground in the war on terrorism. The conflict began in October 2001, after the Taliban regime refused to hand over Osama bin Laden without evidence of his participation in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Al-Qaeda operatives hijacked and crashed four airplanes on Sept. 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people.

The United States-led Operation Enduring Freedom and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) currently command the war on terrorism in Afghanistan.

Hamid Karzai has been Afghanistan’s president since November 2004, when he won the first-ever presidential election in the country with 55.4 per cent of all cast ballots. Before that, he headed an interim government for two years.

Afghanistan held a new presidential election in August 2009. At least 26 people were killed in election-related violence. Following weeks of uncertainty, accusations of fraud and partial ballot recounts, final results gave Karzai 49.67 per cent of the vote, followed by opposition candidate Abdullah Abdullah with 30.59 per cent. A run-off vote was supposed to take place but Abdullah declined to participate, alleging lack of transparency in the process.

On Nov. 19, Karzai was sworn in for a second term. In his inauguration speech, Karzai talked about the future, saying, "To put an end to the three decades of war is what most Afghans want. (…) Peace and security cannot be achieved only militarily."

Polling Data

Do you think Afghanistan is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction?

 

Nov. 2009

Jul. 2009

May 2009

Right direction

56%

62%

30%

Wrong direction

27%

24%

37%

Neither

13%

11%

7%

Not sure

3%

4%

26%

Source: International Republican Institute (IRI)
Methodology: Interviews with 2,380 Afghan adults, conducted from Nov. 16 to Nov. 25, 2009. Margin of error is 2 per cent.