Thursday, December 08, 2005

Good News in Afghanistan

In marked contrast to the dreary outlook in the U.S., a new poll finds that Afghans are optimistic about the future of their country four years after the Taliban was ousted.

The ABC News poll found that 77 percent of Afghans say their country is headed in the right direction — compared with 30 percent in the vastly better-off U.S. Some 91 percent prefer the current Afghan government to the Taliban regime, and 87 percent call the U.S.-led overthrow of the Taliban good for their country. Osama bin Laden, for his part, is as unpopular as the Taliban; nine in 10 view him unfavorably.

Progress is fueling these views: Despite the country's continued problems, 85 percent of Afghans say living conditions there are better now than they were under the Taliban. Some 80 percent cite improved freedom to express political views. And 75 percent say their security from crime and violence has improved as well.

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