- Record-high 83% of Afghans disapproved of U.S. leadership in 2021
- Afghans in 2021 had never disapproved of any world power more than the U.S.
- Few approve of leadership of U.S., Germany, China and Russia
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the 13-year history of Gallup’s surveys in Afghanistan, Afghans have never disapproved of any world power more than they disapproved of the leadership of the U.S. during the country’s withdrawal from Afghanistan last year.
Gallup’s surveys show Afghans had grown disillusioned with U.S. leadership long before the U.S. military pulled out in August, but Afghans’ disapproval reached a record-high 83% in August and September 2021.
Trend line showing approval and disapproval ratings of Afghans’ ratings of U.S. leadership between 2008 and 2021.
Twenty years after its invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, the U.S. exited the country in 2021 with a 14% leadership approval rating, which is similar to the 17% approval rating it earned from Afghans in 2019. At the time, Afghans viewed the U.S. in the same light that they did former occupier Russia (13% approve), but they were less likely to disapprove of Russia’s leadership (76%).
Trend line showing approval and disapproval ratings of Afghans’ ratings of Russia’s leadership between 2008 and 2021.
Afghans’ ratings of other world powers weren’t much better, but Afghans were relatively more positive about the leadership of Germany and China: 25% approved of Germany’s leadership and 21% approved of China’s leadership. Still, majorities of Afghans trust neither: 62% disapproved of Germany’s leadership, and 66% disapproved of China’s leadership.
Trend line showing approval and disapproval ratings of Afghans’ ratings of Germany’s leadership between 2008 and 2021.
Trend line showing approval and disapproval ratings of Afghans’ ratings of China’s leadership between 2008 and 2021.
Afghans were not always this disillusioned about U.S. leadership — or the leadership of Germany, China and even Russia, for that matter. At a few points, as many as half of Afghans approved of the leadership of the U.S. But after 20 years of war, and with the Taliban in control again, they’ve lost faith in the leadership of all four countries.
To stay up to date with the latest Gallup News insights and updates, follow us on Twitter.
For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup’s Country Data Set details.
Learn more about how the Gallup World Poll works.
Results are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 9-Sept. 29, 2021, with a random sample of 2,002 adults, aged 15 and older, in Afghanistan. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±2.7 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Global Leadership Approval Center
Discover what the balance of power looks like through the world’s eyes.
Learn More about Global Leadership Approval Center
Subscribe to The Week in Charts and real time alerts.
Stay up to date with our latest insights.
Hundreds of thousands of Afghans — if not more — have already fled their country since the Taliban seized power. Millions more would leave if they had the chance.
As the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan, 94% of Afghans rated their lives poorly enough to be considered suffering.
Economic conditions in Afghanistan were bleak as the Taliban took control, with 87% of Afghans struggling to get by on their current household income.
Life was already extremely difficult in Afghanistan before the Taliban’s return to power in 2021, but Gallup surveys detail unprecedented suffering among Afghans as the U.S. withdrew and the Taliban took over.
Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A