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Survey Finds Unprecedented Pessimism in Afghanistan

by AFP

File photo. Shah Marai—AFP

Gallup poll finds Afghans, on average, rank 2.3 out of 10 their anticipation of how good life might be in five years

Afghans are voicing unprecedented levels of pessimism as hopes fade for the war-torn country’s future, a U.S. survey said on Friday.

Asked by Gallup how good they anticipate life to be in five years, Afghans gave an average of 2.3 on a scale with 10 as the best possible—the lowest recorded in any country since the polling organization began such global studies in 2006.

Equally striking, Afghans ranked their current life at 2.7—the first time Gallup has seen a population predict that life will get worse rather than better.

The figures in the annual study mark a sharp deterioration, with Afghans in 2016 putting their life in five years at 5.4.

The latest survey “reveals just how devastating the negative cycle of poverty and violence has been to Afghans’ daily experiences,” Gallup said.

A mere four percent of Afghans said their standard of living was improving, while 36 percent said they smiled or laughed the previous day—down from 64 percent in 2012.

Gallup took the survey in July in face-to-face interviews of 1,000 Afghans.

More than 8,000 people were killed or wounded in Afghanistan between January and September, with the country on track to be deadlier than Syria this year.

The United States has increasingly appeared to be looking for an exit strategy after 17 years of war in Afghanistan, with a U.S. envoy recently holding talks in Qatar with a representative of Taliban insurgents.

Some four million Afghans last weekend voted in long-delayed legislative elections amid widespread accounts of polling problems.

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