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Poll: Afghan Spport of US Effort Waning

KABUL, Afghanistan- Afghan confidence in U.S. efforts to secure the country is dropping while Afghan support for the insurgency rising, a poll released Monday indicated.

Afghans indicated they were more pessimistic about the direction of their country, less confident about U.S.-led coalition troops providing security and more willing to negotiate with the Taliban than a year ago, results of a poll conducted for The Washington Post, ABC News, the BBC and ARD television in Germany indicated.

More than half of Afghans interviewed said U.S. and NATO forces should begin withdrawing from the country in mid-2011 or sooner, results indicated. A year ago, 61 percent of Afghans said they supported the deployment of 30,000 additional U.S. troops while the new poll indicated 49 percent support the move, with 49 percent opposed.

Moreover, more than a quarter of Afghans said attacks against U.S. and other foreign military forces were justifiable, results indicated. Overall, about 75 percent of Afghans said they believe their government should negotiate with the Taliban, and nearly two-thirds indicated a willingness to accept a deal allowing Taliban leaders to hold political office, the result show.

The poll found support for Afghan President Hamid Karzai remains strong, despite allegations of corruption. About 65 percent of Afghans rated Karzai's leadership as good or excellent, compared with 72 percent in 2009, the BBC said.

The number of people who blame U.S. forces for violence rose from 5 percent last year to 14 percent this year, while the number blaming the Taliban fell from 42 percent to 33 percent, the survey indicated.

Results are based on in-person interviews with a random national sample of 1,691 Afghan adults Oct. 29-Nov. 13 by the Afghan Center for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research in Kabul. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

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