The past year has been marked by great uncertainty for the people of Afghanistan. Continued attacks, record-high levels of civilian deaths, and the repeated postponement of presidential elections have taken a toll on Afghan society. Meanwhile, unprecedented talks between the U.S. and Taliban inspired both hope and fear before they broke down in September. With confidence in a peace process still tempered by concerns over an abrupt U.S. withdrawal and the implications for Afghan women, the importance of comprehensive, reliable data on the views of Afghan citizens cannot be overstated.

USIP hosted The Asia Foundation for the launch of their 15th Survey of the Afghan People. First commissioned in 2004, the annual survey provides an unmatched barometer of Afghan public opinion over time and serves as a unique resource for policymakers, the international community, the Afghan government, and the broader public in Afghanistan. This year’s survey added new questions to further explore Afghan attitudes toward the peace process, elections, and the prospects for reconciliation.

Based on face-to-face interviews with a nationally representative sample of 17,812 citizens across all 34 Afghan provinces, the results reveal citizens’ views on a wide range of key issues, including security, the economy, corruption, justice, reconciliation with the Taliban, access to media, the role of women, governance, and political participation.

Join the conversation on Twitter with #AfghanSurvey.

Speakers

The Honorable Nancy Lindborg, opening remarks
President & CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace

David D. Arnold, opening remarks
President and Chief Executive Officer, The Asia Foundation 

Abdullah Ahmadzai
Country Director, Afghanistan, The Asia Foundation

Tabasum Akseer
Director of Policy and Research in Afghanistan, The Asia Foundation

Ambassador Daniel Feldman
Asia Foundation Trustee, Senior of Counsel, Covington & Burling; Former U.S Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Scott Worden, moderator
Director, Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs, U.S Institute of Peace 

Related Publications

COVID-19 and Conflict: Afghanistan

COVID-19 and Conflict: Afghanistan

Thursday, April 2, 2020

By: Scott Smith

USIP is closely following the effects of the novel coronavirus around the world and we’re particularly concerned about its effects in fragile states and conflict zones, which are especially vulnerable to the impacts of these kinds of outbreaks. This week, our Scott Smith looks at the potential impact on Afghanistan, how NGOs and religious organizations are working to combat the spread, and what it means for the Afghan peace process.

Type: Blog

Fragility & Resilience; Peace Processes

Dismembering Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance

Dismembering Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

By: William Byrd

In Afghanistan, where corruption and ineffective government have hampered efforts to build a functioning state, the Ministry of Finance has been a standout performer. Competently run since as early as 2002, the ministry collects substantial revenue, manages aid inflows, pays public employees, funds key public services and has won the confidence of donors. Now, all that is threatened. The Afghan government is eviscerating the ministry—carving out key constituent parts, putting them directly under the presidential palace, and gravely weakening one of the country’s most effective institutions. It’s a move that’s bad for Afghanistan’s governance and financial viability. It will harm the country’s development and jeopardizes the sustainability of peace if an agreement is reached with the Taliban.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment

Coronavirus Poses Yet Another Challenge to the Afghan Peace Process

Coronavirus Poses Yet Another Challenge to the Afghan Peace Process

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

By: Scott Smith

The Afghan peace process has been at a stalemate for weeks, as President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban remain far apart on the logistics of prisoner releases. Intra-Afghan talks that were tentatively scheduled for March 10 have not got off the ground. Meanwhile, the disputed presidential election has led to two rival camps claiming the legitimacy to govern. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s effort this week to bring the parties together failed and led the U.S. to reduce aid to Afghanistan. Amid all this uncertainty, Afghanistan is beginning to see the signs of a coronavirus outbreak, which could devastate the country given its poor health infrastructure and pollution problems. USIP’s Scott Smith explains how the coronavirus could further exacerbates an already complex situation.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Taliban Fragmentation: Fact, Fiction, and Future

Taliban Fragmentation: Fact, Fiction, and Future

Monday, March 23, 2020

By: Andrew Watkins

For years, the U.S. military pursued a "divide and defeat" strategy against the Afghan Taliban, attempting to exploit the supposedly fragmented nature of the group. Drawing on the academic literature on insurgency, civil war, and negotiated peace, this report finds that the Taliban is a far more cohesive organization than a fragmented one. Moreover, Taliban cohesion may bode well for enforcing the terms of its February 29 agreement with the United States, and any eventual settlement arising from intra-Afghan negotiations.

Type: Peaceworks

Peace Processes

View All Publications