In a poll conducted by the Asia Foundation in Afghanistan, 35 percent of Afghans believe their country is moving in the wrong direction, which is the highest level of dissatisfaction found since polling began in 2004.

The Asia Foundation cited insecurity as the main cause of growing pessimism in its annual public opinion poll of more than 6,000 people. Security is the biggest problem for Afghans, said Asia Foundation president David D. Arnold.

Afghans told the Asia Foundation that issues of security and conflict influence their perceptions about the future. We are encouraged by higher levels of satisfaction in access to education, drinking water, health services, and growing confidence in the role of public institutions, he said.

The priority now is to integrate these findings into useful guideposts for future development efforts by the Afghanistan government and the international community, he added.

About 46 percent of people still think Afghanistan is moving in the right direction. At the same time, 56 percent of those questioned fear for their safety, with concern highest in the southeast, and 22 percent say they or one of their relatives have fallen victim to violence or crime in the last year. 43 percent of respondents report improvement of the financial well-being of their household. The study also recorded the lowest levels of sympathy yet with the Taliban, down to 29 percent from 40 percent in 2010.

A majority of Afghans were satisfied with the performance of the government, according to the survey, which did not address the issue of whether they were satisfied with the country's leadership or its president.

Hamid Karzai has been criticized by the Afghan opposition and by the international community for not doing enough to combat corruption and for ignoring institutions such as the parliament.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization. The survey was conducted with funding by the U.S. Agency for International Development.