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Afghanistan: The Good News and The Bad News

ABC News, the BBC, ARD German TV and The Washington Post, sponsored the Afghan Center for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research. The new poll made available today offers both good news and bad news.

The Bad news

43 percent of Afghans now express a favorable opinion of the United States, down 8 points to a new low; and fewer, 32 percent, rate the U.S. performance in Afghanistan positively, tying the low. Both are at about half of their peak in 2005.

Only 36 percent now express confidence in U.S. and NATO forces to provide security and stability in their area, down 12 points from last year and down by a vast 31 points since 2006. And one in four now blames the United States or its NATO allies for the country's violence, more than double the level a year ago.

67 percent of Afghans believe that government officials are misdirecting foreign aid money for personal gain.

The Good news

The Taliban, along with al Qaeda, still bear the brunt of the blame for Afghanistan's violence, and 74 percent of Afghans continue to say it was good for the United States to have invaded nearly a decade ago.

Taliban remain highly unpopular. 89 percent see the group unfavorably.

While 62 percent support the presence of U.S. military forces, that's dropped from a high of 78 percent in 2006. Fewer, 54 percent, support the presence of NATO/ISAF forces, also down from 78 percent four years ago.

53 percent say Western forces are doing better at training the Afghan Army and police.

81 percent say the level of support for the Afghan army in their area is high, unchanged from last year; and 76 percent say local support for the police is strong - 6 points higher than last year, and a numerical high. Roughly two-thirds of Afghans rate the work of the police and army in their area positively.

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