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UN-sponsored survey shows Afghans seek peace and security

UN-sponsored survey shows Afghans seek peace and security

The desire for peace and security and the need for disarmament of local military forces are among key concerns of the Afghan population, according to a new United Nations-sponsored survey.

Preliminary results of the poll, presented to journalists in Kabul on Thursday, show that rebuilding trust in government authorities is seen as a major challenge. The survey was conducted by the Center for Economic and Social Rights, an international non-governmental organization (NGO), which interviewed a cross-section of the population in Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kabul, Jalalabad, and surrounding rural areas. Staff from UN agencies and non-governmental organizations were also interviewed.

The survey found that rural residents place food and work as their first priority, calling for the rehabilitation of agriculture, while urban residents give priority to education, including vocational training. Rural residents also support education for both girls and boys, but ask for assistance to offset the loss of income from child labour.

Better access to health care was generally viewed as a universal priority, according to the survey, which also found infrastructure development to be a common concern. Urban residents stressed the need for electricity and communications while rural residents urged attention to roads and water systems.

“Many of the respondents emphasize that conditions are now desperate even compared to previous hardship periods,” UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told the press on Thursday. “They hear media reports about the international reconstruction program, and hope that it will produce concrete and immediate improvements in their standard of living,” he added.