July 17, 2010
Most Afghans view the foreign troops in their country negatively, with three out of four of those polled saying foreigners disrespect their religion and traditions.
According to the survey released Friday by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) think-tank, 68 percent of Afghans say NATO forces do not protect them, as 75 percent believe foreigners disrespect their religion and traditions, Reuters reported.
According to the poll, many believe foreign troops are in Afghanistan for their own benefit, to destroy or occupy the country, or to destroy Islam.
The poll was based on interviews in June with 552 Afghan men in Kandahar and Helmand provinces in southern Afghanistan.
“We are … failing to explain ourselves or our objectives to the Afghan people. This provides clear opportunities for Taliban and al Qaeda propaganda against the West,” ICOS President Norine MacDonald said in a statement.
Thousands of US, British and Afghan soldiers took part in an operation this year in the Marjah area of Helmand, a Taliban stronghold.
This is while people in the district complain that US-led forces attack civilians while searching their houses.
Local people also told reporters earlier in July that the security situation in the area has deteriorated, protesting the actions of Taliban militants who use their homes as strongholds against foreign troops.
Experts assess a recent US-led operation in Marjah, called Operation Moshtarak, as having failed.
Another survey released in early July revealed that 61 percent of Afghans feel more negative about NATO forces after the February operation than they did before it began in southern Afghanistan.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in April there will be no military operation in the southern province of Kandahar unless the Afghan people support it.
This article was posted: Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 2:25 am