Admiral James Stavridis: “Terrific News” in Afghanistan

14.01.10

Categorie: Afghanistan, David Axe |
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Admiral James Stavridis, center. NATO photo.

by DAVID AXE

A new poll sponsored by several Western media outlets shows Afghans feeling more positive about the war and their country’s direction. “Seventy percent of Afghans say the country is moving in the right direction, up 30 points from one year ago, according to the poll from ABC News, the BBC, and ARD German TV,” The Christian Science Monitor sums up. “Conducted last month after President Hamid Karzai’s reelection was confirmed, the survey also found his approval up 19 points on the year, to 71 percent.”

Matthew Warshaw, managing director of ACSOR Surveys, the firm in Kabul that conducted the poll, chalked the optimism up to three things: the peaceful resolution of the election controversy, the U.S. deepening its commitment to the country, and more Afghans seeing development in their local area.

In a teleconference with bloggers, the top U.S. official in NATO, Admiral James Stavridis, called it “terrific news … maybe the most important thing I’ve heard in the seven months that I’ve been in command.”

“I have a sense of positive shift in the psychology of the population in Afghanistan,” Stavridis continued.

I would say there are four things we have to do — that we have to do right in Afghanistan. Number one is, put the Afghan people at the center of our effort. We have got to protect the people of Afghanistan and make them feel as though we are there to be part of their success. That’s the most important thing.

Secondly, we’ve got to do what I’m doing right now. We’ve got to be part of an effective strategic communications effort, both in Afghanistan to tell the Afghan people this story — and that’s why the poll is so important — and we’ve also got to do it in our own capitals all over the world: those strategic communications.

To be fair, the Monitor questioned the poll’s accuracy. Experts “point out that Afghans do not always feel safe being candid.”

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3 Responses to “Admiral James Stavridis: “Terrific News” in Afghanistan”

  1. Una says:

    There was a much more methodologically sound poll conducted in June by the Asia Foundation. It surveyed 7,000 people (which is a large enough sample size, unlike 1,500, which is too small for a population of 30 million), and only had serious problems with surveying in 2 provinces that account for just 3 percent of the total population anyway. The results were similar, but not identical to the poll referenced above.

    Here’s the Asia Foundation’s report: http://asiafoundation.org/country/afghanistan/2009-poll.php#2009

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