The number of Afghans in the northern and northeastern regions of the country who hold a positive opinion of Germany dropped 11 percentage points in the last year to 63 percent, according to the study for German broadcaster ARD, along with US broadcaster ABC and the UK's BBC.
About 1,100 of Germany's 4,300 troops in the country are stationed in the north as part of the NATO mission, and the Bundeswehr is generally considered to be responsible for safety in the area. But the debate over the German-ordered bombardment of two tanker trucks hijacked by the Taliban in the region in September 2009 – and the fact that it killed up to 150 people, many of them civilians – has apparently soured the local opinion of Germany, Arnd Henze from ARD affiliate WDR said.
Henze helped lead the survey of some 1,554 Afghans, who revealed that they were also unhappy that the region had become more dangerous after several years of relative peace.
In 2009, some 72 percent of poll participants said the security situation was positive – but in 2010 only 43 percent held this opinion. For the first time since the poll began was this level was under the country average, results showed.
But the poll also found that Afghans have a more positive general outlook in 2010 than in 2009. Some 70 percent said their country was on the right path – and increase of 30 percent compared to the previous year. And the number of people who said their children would have a better future rose by 14 percent to reach 61 percent.
One of the biggest factors contributing to their optimism was due to improvements in quality of life – particularly the increased availability of electricity. But many said medical care, clean water and educational opportunities were still greatly lacking.
The poll was conducted by the Afghan Centre for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research in late December 2009.