Afghanistan: Poverty and joblessness fuel conflict, survey says

Kabul, 18 Nov. (AKI) - Poverty and unemployment are fuelling the fighting in Afghanistan, according to 70 percent of Afghans, surveyed by UK-based aid agency Oxfam. But weak government, corruption, the Taliban and interference by neighbouring countries were also cited as causes of the conflict, according to Afghans surveyed by Oxfam.

A total 48 percent of Afghans surveyed cited government weakness and corruption as the second most important factor behind the fighting, with the Taliban coming third (36 percent), followed by meddling by Iran and Pakistan (25 percent).

According to Oxfam's research, one in six Afghans are currently considering leaving Afghanistan. One in five, or 21 percent have been tortured either in jail or by various armed groups since the wars began in 1979. And three-quarters of Afghans have been forced to leave their homes since then.

"The people of Afghanistan have suffered 30 years of unrelenting horror. In that time millions have been killed and millions more have fled their homes," said Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International.

Individuals guilty of terrible crimes have not been brought to justice and Afghan society has been devastated by war, he said.

"Repairing this damage can’t be done overnight. It will take a long time for the economic, social and psychological scars to heal.

"The international community has to recognise this, and to understand that Afghanistan needs more than military solutions. It needs support for agriculture, better infrastructure and schools, and health services must improve," Hobbs said.

Oxfam surveyed 704 randomly selected Afghans, men and women, from across the country in 14 provinces. The poll was carried out jointly with a number of non-governmental organisations including the Afghan Civil Society Forum (ACSF).


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