Kabul: Support for the Taliban among Afghans has steadily declined in recent years and people are feeling a growing sense of insecurity, according to a survey funded in part by the US government.

The survey released today by the San Francisco-based Asia Foundation also found that an overwhelming majority of Afghan adults, 82 per cent, back reconciliation and reintegration efforts with insurgent groups.

It said that the number of people who said they sympathised with the aims of Taliban had dropped to 29 per cent compared to 40 per cent last year and 56 per cent in 2009.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been making peace overtures to the Taliban for years with the backing of the international community.

However the survey was conducted in July, nearly two months before the September 20 assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was leading the government's US-backed effort to broker peace with the Taliban.

He was killed by an assassin who claimed to be an emissary from the Taliban, dealing a major setback to efforts to find a political resolution to the 10-year-old war.

The survey also found that nearly half of those asked, or 46 per cent, thought the country was moving in the right direction.

Reconstruction and rebuilding, good security in some areas and improvements in the education system were the main reasons.

But for the first time since the survey began in 2004, a rising number now think that Afghanistan is moving in the wrong direction an increase to 35 per cent from 27 last year.

Although the survey said a majority of Afghans were satisfied with the performance of the government, it did not address the issue of whether they were satisfied with the country's leadership or its president.

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

(Agencies)