Polls: Afghanis’ suffering has spiked since U.S. troop withdrawal

(The Center Square) – Newly released survey data shows Afghanis are reporting a spike in suffering since the Taliban took control of the country after President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from the nation.

Gallup released the survey data, which found that 98% of Afghanis “rate their life so poorly that they are considered suffering” while a quarter of those surveyed say their life right now is “the worst possible.” In addition, 39% say they expect their life in five years will be the worst possible.

The survey data was taken in July and August, marking the one-year anniversary of the withdrawal of U.S. troops. A bombing killed 13 servicemembers in the chaotic withdrawal, which also left billions dollars in military equipment behind.

The survey found Afghanis have little hope for things to improve in the future.

Only 11% say children “have the opportunity to learn and grow,” and only 27% of those surveyed say children are “treated with respect.” They also view the education system negatively.

“Afghans’ perceptions of children having the opportunity to learn and grow nosedived to 24% in the early days of the Taliban’s rule in 2021, when the group closed all schools across the country,” Gallup said. “But Afghans lost more faith when the Taliban did not permit girls past sixth grade to return when schools opened this year – effectively banning 3 million girls from getting a secondary education.”

The nation’s economy is suffering significantly as well. Gallup found 86% of those surveyed say they have been unable to afford food and 92% say “it is difficult or very difficult to get by on household income.”

“Between 2021 and 2022, the percentage of Afghans who have been unable to afford food they and their families need shot up 11 points to 86%,” Gallup said. “This is not only a new record high for Afghanistan, but it also statistically ties the world record for any country over the past 16 years (87% set by the Central African Republic in 2010).”

Biden has defended his decision, saying remaining in the nation was too risky for servicemembers.

“When I hear we could have, should have continued the so-called low-grade effort in Afghanistan, at low risk to our service members, at low cost,” Biden said in October 2021. “I don’t think enough people understand how much we’ve asked of the 1 percent of this country who put that uniform on.”

According to the United Nations, about 24.4 million Afghanis, more than half the country’s population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

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