Where Things Stand: Afghanistan in Turmoil

"We have never seen a peaceful day," says one Afghan woman polled for survey.

ByABC News
February 6, 2009, 2:40 PM

Feb. 9, 2009— -- Despite seven years of fighting, the lives of more than 600 U.S. servicemen and women, and billions of dollars in aid, Afghan opinions of the United States and their own government have dramatically deteriorated, according to the latest ABC News polling.

In 2005, with liberation from the Taliban still fresh, 83 percent of Afghans had a favorable view of the United States. Today, with widespread violence and staggeringly slow redevelopment, it has plunged to 47 percent.

Asked whether their country is moving in the right direction, only 40 percent say yes, compared to 77 percent four years ago.

The results are from an exclusive national survey produced by ABC News, the BBC and ARD German TV. Pollsters interviewed more than 1,500 Afghans in all 34 of the country's provinces.

From the back alleys of Kandahar to the mountains of the Hindu Kush to the streets of Kabul, Afghan pollsters have seen profound pessimism across the country.

In interview after interview, the Afghan population expressed little hope for the future, coupled with rising fears for their immediate safety.

Lailoma Karimi, 35, lives in a primitive but spotless home in Kabul with her husband and three children. She has no access to clean drinking water, only firewood for heat and limited electricity -- 55 percent of Afghans have none. But her biggest concern is security.

"From the time I was a little kid the fighting [was] going on, and it is going on till now," she said through a translator. She fled to Iran because of the security, but says that now that she's back, the situation is Kabul is acceptable, but outside the city, "it's gotten worse."

"We have never seen a peaceful day; we are worried about our kids' future, what will happen to them because there is no security at all." Karimi said children stay home from school because of the situation.

It is no wonder there is growing concern. Even though the United States has been in Afghanistan for more than seven years, this past year has been the most dangerous since 2001.