An international policy think tank says most men in two key southern Afghan provinces have not heard of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. that prompted the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.
The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) says 92 percent of 1,000 men interviewed in Helmand and Kandahar provinces were not aware of the events that triggered the current international presence in Afghanistan.
The provinces have the fiercest fighting between foreign forces and the Taliban, which was ousted by the invasion in late 2001 as Afghanistan's government.
The ICOS research revealed that 40 percent of those interviewed in the south believe the international forces are in Afghanistan to destroy Islam or to occupy or destroy Afghanistan.
ICOS says 61 percent of the respondents believe the Afghan National Security Forces will not be able to provide post-transition security once the international troops leave.
ICOS said 43 percent of the respondents were not able to name any "good things about democracy."
ICOS President Norine MacDonald said (in a statement) (in his words) "we need to explain to the Afghan people why we are here and convince them their future is better with us than with the Taliban."
The findings were published as NATO leaders are meeting in Lisbon to determine the transition of responsibility for security to Afghan forces.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.