Afghan Perspectives on Taliban Reconciliation

The question of Taliban participation in the Afghan government after the majority of NATO troops leave Afghanistan in 2014 is one of the most vital to the country’s future. While many Afghans welcomed the relaxation of restrictions on women’s rights after the fall of the Taliban government, the gains Afghan women have made since 2001 will be contested when Taliban members and other conservative elements that had opposed the NATO presence in the country are integrated into the government. Since 2010, D3 Systems has funded Afghan Futures, a series of nationally representative face-to-face surveys, to track public opinion data in Afghanistan regarding reconciliation between the Taliban and the central government and changes to women’s rights that Afghans would view as acceptable conditions for a stable government that included Taliban members.  Fieldwork is conducted by ACSOR, a subsidiary of D3 Systems.

While the paper below addresses women’s views on this issue, an examination of men’s opinions about the role of women in Afghan society is essential to understanding the likely outcomes for women of an agreement between the Taliban and the government.

Key Findings:

  • Amongst all Afghans, the percentage favoring negotiations has stayed roughly the same over time (75% in May 2010 – 73% in March 2014).
  • There has been minimal difference in opinion on negotiations by gender (75% of men supported reconciliation in March 2014; 70% of women supported reconciliation in March 2014).
  • Support for negotiations is highest amongst Pashtuns (84% in March 2014), but the majority of every major ethnicity favors reconciliation.
  • Pashtuns are the most likely to believe that the Taliban has become more moderate (47%, compared to 28% of Tajiks, 35% of Uzbeks, and 35% of Hazaras).  A clear majority of all other major ethnicities believe the Taliban remains the same as before (66% of Tajiks, 62% of Uzbeks, and 60% of Hazaras, compared to 49% of Pashtuns).

For more in-depth results, download the full presentation.

John Richardson of D3 Systems presented these findings at the 69th annual American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Conference in Annaheim, California from May 15th – May 18th, 2014.  Check out our Research & Publications page for more AAPOR 2014 papers and presentations.