Afghanistan_Massoud_Hossaini_Getty

Norine Macdonald's organization recently interviewed Afghans about their country. One of the more disturbing parts of the report:

The research findings indicate that both the effectiveness and the loyalty of Afghan security forces -- a key element of the current strategy -- need attention.

The perceived potential for Afghan forces to switch sides (after being trained by international forces) is at a dangerous level. Fifty-six percent of respondents believe Afghan police are helping the Taliban and 29 percent think that Afghan police end up joining the Taliban. Thirty-nine percent think that the Afghan National Army (ANA) are helping the Taliban; 30 percent of respondents think that ANA soldiers end up joining the Taliban.

According to interviews, the Taliban could easily rebuild their power in the country and 81 percent believed the return of the Taliban would mean a return of al Qaeda. Additionally, 72 percent believe that al Qaeda would then use Afghanistan to launch attacks on the West again. 

(Photo: An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier looks on as unseen US Marines from 1st Battalion 8th, Bravo company patrol in Ahmad Ghazi village of Musa Qala district in Helmand province on December 16, 2010. President Barack Obama's Afghan troop surge has made progress in curbing the Taliban and severely weakening Al-Qaeda, but US gains are not yet durable and sustainable, a new policy review said December 16. Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.