More than 8 in 10 Afghans believe their country is riddled with widespread corruption, and more than half assert President Hamid Karzai's government is not doing enough to address it, according to a new poll.

About 50 percent also agree that corruption has worsened since December of last year, and more than one-quarter say it remains totally unchanged, the new Gallup numbers indicate.

Tuesday's poll -- taken in June, before Afghanistan's hotly contested presidential election -- could perhaps spell trouble for both Karzai's neophyte government and the United States' evolving military strategy. 


Among other things, the numbers reveal that Karzai had lost serious credibility among his state's citizens -- even before evidence of election fraud prompted the need for a presidential election runoff.

Presumably, those ratings could dip yet again if Gallup returns to survey voters, considering Karzai's opponent in the second round of voting, Abdullah Abdullah, ultimately boycotted that race out of fear of further corruption, allowing Karzai to win unopposed.

Moreover, the White House has maintained that it cannot commit additional troops to the war-torn state unless it first has a "credible partner" in government there. As the president debates how to proceed, some U.S. officials have since aired serious concerns about Karzai's leadership and willingness to tackle endemic corruption.

"But remember," stressed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday, "it's not just about troops on the ground; it's about making sure that the people in Afghanistan see the results of this effort, that they have more faith in their own government as an entity that can deliver for them."

Karzai, however, insisted Monday that he was committed to reducing corruption in his state, and that he was already taking measures to root out government officials considered notorious for their illegal, dubious behavior.

"We will [fire those officials] definitely. We have and we will," he told PBS in an interview, echoing his admission during his acceptance speech last week that corruption was a serious problem in his state.

"I have to make decisions that will bring more stability to Afghanistan and more progress to Afghanistan that will enable us to do better as a country, as a nation, that will give us an efficient government," he added.