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Nearly half of Afghans believe country is 'moving in the right direction,' survey says

A US-funded survey by the San Francisco-based Asia Foundation found that 47 percent of Afghans say their country is 'moving in the right direction,' but some Afghans doubt the results.

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Fazel Rabi Haqbeen, Program Planning and Development Director of Asia Foundation, gestured to details displayed during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday. Nearly half of Afghans say the country is 'moving in the right direction,' according to a US-funded survey by the group.

Musadeq Sadeq/AP

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In what is likely to be a boon for Gen. David Petraeus, commander of international forces in Afghanistan, a new survey shows that for the second year in a row an increasing number of Afghans believe the country is “moving in the right direction.”

As President Obama prepares to review the Afghan war effort in December, General Petraeus has been under pressure to produce quantifiable signs of progress. Though the new survey does cast some dark shadows on corruption and security in Afghanistan, in many regards it paints the situation here in an optimistic light.

For a number of Afghans, however, such positive findings coming at such a critical time for the United States have sowed seeds of doubt about the veracity of the results.

“This is something strange for me, because generally when I talk with people they are hopeless and they worry about the situation in Afghanistan,” says Abdul Ghafoor Liwal, head of the Regional Studies Center of Afghanistan in Kabul. “Some people in Afghanistan think that these kinds of surveys and research produce data for an American audience, not an Afghan one.”

Positive trend?

The survey, conducted by The Asia Foundation and funded by the US Agency for International Development, found that 47 percent of Afghans say their country was going in the right direction, compared with 42 percent in 2009 and 38 percent in 2008.

Good security and reconstruction were among the main reasons cited by respondents as the source of their optimism.

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