News24

Afghans welcome bin Laden death: Poll

2011-05-16 10:00

Kabul - More than two-thirds of Afghan men say the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is good news for their war-torn nation but opinions are split over the terror network's future, a poll shows.

The poll results, collected from across Afghanistan, point to general approval of the US operation that shot bin Laden in neighbouring Pakistan on May 2.

The hunt for the al-Qaeda mastermind has been a key motivation behind the US-led military presence in Afghanistan, and his death has triggered calls for a rapid withdrawal of foreign troops after nearly 10 years of war.

The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) interviewed 600 men over the past two weeks in the violent city of Kandahar, the relatively peaceful Panjshir province, Kabul University and three other locations.

It said that 68% welcomed the death of bin Laden, who was sheltered along with his fellow al-Qaeda militants by the 1996-2001 Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

"I am happy that Osama is dead as he killed Ahmad Shah Massoud," a 19-year-old man from Panjshir told ICOS, referring to the Taliban's main rival, who was killed in a suicide attack two days before 9/11.

Negative blowback

However, the survey revealed some stark contrasts, with 71% of interviewees in Marjah, a hotbed of Taliban fighters and drug-traders in the southern province of Helmand, describing bin Laden's killing as bad news.

Under its 2010 "surge" policy, the United States sent 30 000 extra soldiers to Afghanistan to launch aggressive anti-Taliban offensives in the south but total troop numbers are set to fall from July this year.

"Military operations have created 'blowback' through negatively impacting the hearts and minds of those we interviewed in the south," said Norine MacDonald, president and lead field researcher for ICOS.

"Overall, the results showed the death of bin Laden was well received, which means a positive step in the international community's transition strategy."

Opinion was divided equally on whether bin Laden's death would mean the collapse of al-Qaeda, which derived much of its support through his talismanic leadership.

The success of the raid by US commandos has boosted support in America for a quick end to the war, with six out of ten people telling a Gallup poll that the military had now accomplished its mission in Afghanistan.

Struggle for progress

Many observers fear the country could topple into civil war between the Taliban, the government and various warlords as foreign troops leave.

There are currently 130 000 foreign troops in Afghanistan but the end of 2014 has been earmarked for a handover of security to Afghan forces.

Coalition efforts to train up the Afghan army and police force to be ready to impose security across the vast and poverty-stricken nation have struggled to make progress.

However, the plan to hand over responsibility to national security forces is welcomed by most Afghans, according to ICOS survey results from 1 400 interviews that were taken before bin Laden's death.

About 60% of respondents in the south and 80% in the north supported the transition process.

ICOS added that news stories such as 500 Taliban prisoners escaping from Kandahar on April 25 and the burning of a Qur'an by a pastor in the US had hit public confidence in the coalition's ability to protect and respect Afghans.

Polling in Afghanistan is difficult and often dangerous, and small sample sizes mean that findings cannot be viewed as conclusive.

Comments
  • REVO - 2011-05-16 10:55

    Of course they do, who in there right mind would want to support terrorism. There's no honor in terrorism. Just cowards you work under the veil of darkness. Come out and have a debate instead!!

  • Matt - 2011-05-16 10:57

    Now that OBL is dead, and was not even found in Afghanistan - what is the USA still doing there?

      Grunk - 2011-05-16 11:05

      There's still the opium crop. Just as a matter of interest, here we have a Poll stating emphatically that 75% etc etc. This was the country where not one person in the world believed the results of the "elections" were free, fair and truly represented more than a probable reflection of a victory.

      Cire - 2011-05-16 14:42

      Failed states are swamps that terrorists use as breeding grounds. The US is trying to establish a deomcracy in Afghanistan so the people themselves can decide who will form the government. They may fail but it's the only long term solution to the problem.

      slg - 2011-05-16 15:34

      The answer to this question is obvious. And Grunk, like Matt, you're still working against the light, for darkness.

      Matt - 2011-05-16 15:51

      Well in almost 10 years, they have a government which is known to be corrupt (didn't take them long!), have caused some tensions (like the Koran burning, nobody there knew until Karzai told them and then they went on a rampage afterwards), there are still elements of the Taliban... and at the end of the day they went there to find OBL and he ended up in Pakistan!

      slg - 2011-05-16 17:58

      Matt, there could hardly be a more superficial analysis on Afghanistan than the one you've given here.

      slg - 2011-05-16 18:05

      Grunk, you're either ignorant or intentionally being deceptive. It is well known that it is the Taliban who promote opium farming in Afhhanistan and use money from opium cross to finance their terror attacks on innocent civilians and the Allied forces.

  • Mdavu-zn - 2011-05-17 09:22

    NO MATTER MAYBE BAD THE MAN ACTRD PREVIOUSLY. BUT GUYS DON'T YOU THINK THAT'S IT WAS UP TO THE MAN ABOVE (GOD) TO PUNISH THE MAN?? JA HE'VE A LOT OF BAD THIINGS "BUT" LET'S GIVE GOD HIS POWER AND RESPECT AND LET HIM RULL THE PLACE, NOT US MEN. """"MAY HIS SOUL REST I PEACE"""" WE UNDERSTAND HE'VE DONE ALOT OF WRONGS BUT THAT'S FOR HIM AND HIS GOD.

      slg - 2011-05-28 07:05

      So you're willing for you and your family to be killed, pending God's "punishment"? In any event, God doesn't punish. God is love.

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