‘American polling firm Gallup has found that Afghans are the saddest people on earth, finding that nearly nine in ten respondents are “suffering,” in their own words, with zero percent claiming that they are currently “thriving.” When asked to rate their life out of a score of ten, Afghans gave an average answer of 2.7, a record low for any country studied. Worse still, when asked to predict the quality of their life in five years, the average answer was even lower: 2.3.
As the study mentioned, “the unprecedented finding highlights Afghans’ near-universal lack of optimism.” In more than a decade of data collection around the world on the topic, this is the first time that any population predicted that their future lives would be worse than their current ones. This, to Gallup, was “all the more notable” due to Afghanistan’s very young population; two-thirds of those interviewed were aged 35 or under. Less than half of the country said they experienced enjoyment or were treated with respect in the previous day, while 52 percent admitted to worrying for much of the day, up 10 percentage points from 2016.
Remarkably, the study does not mention the 18-year U.S.-led invasion and occupation of the country as a potential explanatory factor for their suffering. In fact, it explicitly warns against an American withdrawal, arguing that it would “strengthen the Taliban’s grip” over the country, thus, tacitly endorsing the U.S. government and presenting the military as a force for good in the region.’