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Baseline Perceptions of the Afghan People(mod)
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (S//REL) Baseline Perceptions of the Afghan People, FEB 2007, POTF-AF S2: This document combines the results of four surveys, Altai Consulting (2006) ANDP and PME surveys, Asia Foundation (2006) A Survey of the Afghan People, and U.S. Department of State, Office of Research (2007) Afghanistan: Closer to One Nation Than a House Divided to establish baseline perceptions of the target audience (Afghan Populace). The intent was not to provide demographic data but to provide a baseline in the populaces perceptions in specific areas. This information is important for psychological operations in developing programs to change negative perceptions or to maintain positive perceptions that support the CJTF-76 mission and stated objectives. POTF-AF will continually update the perceptions through monthly perception/trends analysis utilizing information gathered from PSYOP elements, SITREPs, SIGACTs, and contracted surveys. (S//REL) SECURITY: Afghans cite security as Afghanistans biggest problem (22%), while unemployment, poor economy, and the presence of Taliban all come in second at 12%. Nearly 30% of Afghans believe that the Taliban are the greatest threat to Afghanistan. Afghans identify insurgents as bringing insecurity rather than foreign forces but blame unemployment for driving insecurity, not the insurgents. Altai Consulting concludes that jobs and more ANP will improve security at the local level while at the national level jobs, collecting weapons, and more ANA provide more security. The majority of Afghans trust the ANA (84%) and ANP (86%). Most Afghans are proud of their ANA (84%) and ANP (76%) but only a third believe they are very capable of protecting their area. (S//REL) GOVERNANCE: Most Afghans (85%) believe Afghanistan should be a unified nation. Nearly 9 out of 10 people say they have confidence in the national government in 2006. This has remained unchanged since 2004. 90% of Afghans back President Karzai and this has remained the same since 2004. Most people perceive democracy as meaning freedom while others said democracy means peace, and a smaller number said rights and laws. Over half of those asked strongly agreed and 29% somewhat agreed that religious authorities should lead people in obeying their faith while political leaders should make decisions about running the government. Two thirds believe that Islamic countries can be a democracy without becoming westernized. Close to half of both Sunni and Shia and all ethnicities believe religious laws should dictate all aspects of life including economics, politics, culture, and family. (S//REL) DEVELOPMENT: When asked what the main reason for the countrys progress was nearly a third cites security, followed by peace/end of war (29%) and then disarmament (26%). Just over half of the Afghans feel that their economic prosperity has increased since the fall of the Taliban. When asked what is the biggest problem at the local level unemployment ranks as the top concern (18%) followed fairly closely with basic needs such as electricity, food, water, and health care. Perceptions of foreign forces reconstruction efforts vary widely from region to region. Kabul has the highest perception rate of foreign forces helping a lot. Radio is the most popular means for people to receive information of national importance followed by television and family and friends. Men rely on radio and women rely on word of mouth for information. Only 20% of Afghans said they would completely trust information from foreign forces and 44% would trust the information a little bit. (S//REL) STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: Afghans, on average believe that the motives of foreign forces are to bring peace and security. Three out of four Afghans believe foreign forces are necessary in Afghanistan and 74% believe they should stay until Afghanistan is fully at peace. 75% say the U.S. treats Afghanistan with respect. Three-quarters still support U.S. military presence which is down from 81% in 2005. When asked which country is providing the most aid, nearly half of the Afghans responded with USA, Japan, Germany, and India. (S//REL) PROPAGANDA: In 2006, there were over 1000 reports of insurgent propaganda throughout Afghanistan. In most areas intimidation is the primary means for propaganda. There has been an increase in resentment and resistance towards the Taliban as a result. This reliance on intimidation is their greatest weakness as it is unlikely that it will gather long-term support. Another line of persuasion contained in most insurgent propaganda is that the coalition forces are here to weaken/destroy Islam. This line of persuasion appears to be ineffective since only 12% of the 21% of the Afghan populace felt the country was going in the wrong direction believed Islam is in danger due to the presence of coalition forces/foreign fighters. (U) POC: LTC Jeffrey L. Scott, POTF-AF Commander, CJTF-76, Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org , DSN 231-3003 or SGT Joseph Atneosen, POTF-AF S2, email@example.com , DSN 321-3062. See Attachment