Taken from here.
This article is the first of a two-part series that looks at Pakistanis' and Afghans' views of the Taliban's influence and their respective countries' efforts to combat terrorism.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Taliban's presence on either side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border is largely unwelcome, but increasingly so in Pakistan, where Gallup surveys show they have lost much of the little appeal they had. Four percent of Pakistanis in a November-December 2009 poll, conducted prior to Pakistan's current push to rout the Taliban within its borders, said the Taliban's presence in some areas of the country has a positive influence, down from 15% in June.
Gallup most recently polled Pakistanis in the particularly deadly period after the army's anti-Taliban operations in the South Waziristan tribal area started in October. Retributive militant attacks across Pakistan reportedly have claimed more than 600 Pakistanis' lives since then, which the public's increasingly negative view of the Taliban may reflect.
The Taliban lost support in every region of Pakistan. But nowhere are they more unpopular than in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), ground zero for a full-scale military offensive against the Taliban last May. In November-December 2009, 1% of NWFP residents said the Taliban have a positive influence, down from 11% in June. The percentage saying the Taliban's influence is positive in Baluchistan, which abuts South Waziristan, dropped from 26% to 5%.
On the other side of the border, Afghans agree with Pakistanis that the Taliban have a negative influence. However, Afghans' views have remained relatively unchanged despite the Taliban's threats and violence before the presidential election in August. In both surveys in 2009, roughly 8 in 10 Afghans said the Taliban has a negative influence.
Majorities of Afghans in every region of the country see the Taliban as a negative influence, with their opinions changing little throughout 2009. Residents in the South, which included people in Kandahar, where U.S. and coalition forces are expected to challenge the Taliban this summer, continued to be more likely than others to say the Taliban have a positive influence. But even so, the majority said the Taliban have a negative influence.
Gallup's surveys show few Afghans and even fewer Pakistanis view the Taliban's presence as a positive influence, which suggests there may be popular support for government efforts to dislodge the Taliban. Public support will be an important factor in the coming months if Pakistan continues its anti-Taliban operations and as the U.S. and coalition forces begin their offensive in Kandahar.
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