Poll: majority of Afghans back talks with Taliban
An overwhelming majority of Afghans support the government's efforts to negotiate peace with Taliban insurgents, according to a poll released yesterday that ranks insecurity as the top concern among citizens, followed by unemployment and corruption.
Some 83 percent of Afghan adults back efforts to secure the country through negotiations with armed, anti-government groups, the survey conducted by the Asia Foundation said. That's up from 71 percent last year.
The report also said that 55 percent of Afghan adults had no sympathy at all for the armed opposition groups -- up from 36 percent last year -- and another 26 percent had only a little sympathy.
Moreover, 81 percent -- 10 percent more than last year -- support programs to lure Taliban foot soldiers off the battlefield by providing assistance, jobs and housing to those who lay down their arms and reintegrate into society.
President Hamid Karzai has made reconciliation a top priority and recently formed a 70-member High Peace Council to find a political solution to the war, now in its 10th year.