Building Peace and Connectivity through Research and Dialogue

SURVEY: What Are the Afghan People’s Preferences in the Peace Talks?


In order to contribute to the growing body of knowledge on Afghans’ opinions about the ongoing peace process and the future of the country, the Heart of Asia Society conducted a rapid nationwide survey on several key issues that are likely to be brought up in the peace talks: the modality of government and rule of law, the role of foreign forces in guaranteeing any peace agreement, the future position of Taliban fighters, the role of women, and what Afghans themselves consider the most important priorities of the peace talks. The survey was fielded in early August, 2020, and data from 4,912 respondents from all 34 provinces (20% female and 80% male) were analyzed. A brief overview of results is as follows:

  • Respondents were asked to list their top three priorities for negotiations, which were grouped into categories to allow for meaningful analysis, and 79% cited peace/security, 28% human rights issues, 21% economic development, 19% women’s rights, 9% freedom of speech and youth rights, 7%rule of law, and 7% education. When asked if they prefer an Islamic Emirate, an Islamic Republic, a mixture of the two, or had no preference, 75% said they prefer a Republic system, 7% said they prefer an Emirate, 6% said a mixture of the two, and 11% said they have no preference. About a third (32%) of respondents said the constitution should continue to be used as the basis of legal structures in Afghanistan, 25% said it should not, and 32% said that it should be used, but needs to be changed or amended. Opinions on whether or not the constitution should remain in place do not clearly align with preferred system of government, and those who state a preference for an Emirate do not necessarily reject the current democratic constitution.
  • When asked if foreign troop presence is necessary to guarantee the implementation of a peace agreement, almost half of respondents (47%) said no, 37% said yes, 9% said it may be helpful, and 6% said they don’t know.
  • Respondents were asked what they think should happen to Taliban fighters if there is a peace agreement with the Afghan Government. Respondents were most likely to say that fighters should be integrated with the national security forces (45%) or that they should be disarmed (42%), with 7% saying they don’t know and 5% saying they should stay as they are.
  • When asked about their preference for women’s role in politics after a peace agreement, respondents were significantly more likely (58%) to say women should have a greater role than to say they should have the same role (19%) or a lesser role (14%).

“You can download the full survey here” HAS Political Survey_English Version