Afghans Blame U.S. and NATO for War Casualties

More than half of Afghans disapprove of U.S. and NATO allies' efforts

Dec. 4, 2007— -- In the third installment of the "Afghanistan: Where We Stand" series, our joint poll with the BBC News and ARD of Germany conducted more than 1,300 face-to-face interviews with randomly selected adults across the war-torn country.

Trained Afghan interviewers traveled to all 34 provinces, often over harsh terrain in a country that's nearly 80 percent rural.

For the first time, this national survey finds that more than half of Afghans disapprove of U.S. efforts.

The results find some dramatic changes. Frustrated by ongoing violence and uneven development, Afghans have grown sharply more critical of the performance of the United States and its NATO allies in their country. Two years ago, 68 percent approved -- now it's down to 42 percent.

The concern, though, is not with the U.S. presence but its performance. Where the U.S. is strong, development is working and security is in place, Afghans are far more optimistic.

But only about half of Afghans say the United States and its allies have a strong presence in their area. Ratings of the strength and effectiveness of the Afghan police are likewise down.

Meanwhile, 42 percent say the Taliban have been gaining strength, far more than say it's lost ground. And in the beleaguered southwest of the country, support for the Taliban has tripled from what it was a year ago, while support for the presence of NATO forces is sharply down.