Most Americans now think the United States should have kept troops in Afghanistan, despite its earlier support at the end of the war


Top line

A month after the U.S. military ended its frantic departure from Afghanistan amid a Taliban takeover, most Americans don’t think withdrawing all forces was the right course of action, said Quinnipiac revealed in a poll on Wednesday – even though the majority of American adults supported winding up the two-decade war in Afghanistan last month.


Only 28% of American adults told Quinnipiac University that a total withdrawal from Afghanistan was the right decision, compared with 50% who supported the withdrawal of some of the troops – but not all – and 15% who preferred to leave. all troops in Afghanistan.

However, just three weeks ago, Quinnipiac reported that 69% of Americans – including 90% of Democrats and 48% of Republicans – believed ending the war in Afghanistan was the right decision, lining up with others. polls showing the weariness of the 20 Years War.

Some 54% of adults told Quinnipiac last month that they approved the decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, and the same percentage told the Pew Research Center in late August that the withdrawal was the right decision, even though these two polls were conducted after the Taliban took control. from Afghanistan.

This shift could be motivated by the less than triumphant end of the war, including a deadly terrorist attack in Kabul, a chaotic mission to evacuate U.S. allies, and a return to the intransigent Taliban style of government: Quinnipiac Tim Malloy wrote that Americans are “weary of the seemingly endless conflict but wary of what has been left behind.

The poll also reflects broader frustrations with Biden, whose job approval rating has fallen from 42% to 38% in the past three weeks, according to Quinnipiac (the weighted average of the FiveThirtyEight polls shows Biden’s approval slightly higher, at 44.2%).

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,326 adults between Friday and Monday for its most recent poll.


The results of the Quinnipiac poll varied considerably from party to party: 63% of Republicans supported the withdrawal of some but not all US personnel from Afghanistan, compared to 38% of Democrats, and Democrats (47%) were much more likely than Republicans (7%) to support pulling all troops.

Surprising fact

When President Joe Biden chose to withdraw from Afghanistan in the spring, the number of US forces remaining in the country had already dropped sharply. The Pentagon said 2,500 troops were stationed in Afghanistan five days before Biden’s inauguration, up from around 12,000 less than a year earlier and 100,000 at the height of the 2009-2011 wave.

Large number

27%. That’s the share of American adults who thought Biden did a great or a good job with Afghanistan in August, according to a Pew Research Center poll. The same poll found support for ending the war in Afghanistan topped 50%, meaning Americans could theoretically leave Afghanistan, but challenge the way the withdrawal was handled.

Key context

Earlier this year, Biden pledged to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11, ending the longest war in U.S. history by the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack that took initially pushed the US military into Afghanistan. But the Taliban overwhelmed the forces of the former US-backed Afghan government as the US withdrew earlier this year, and in mid-August the militant group took control of the capital Kabul. . The United States finally left in August, after American personnel spent two weeks guarding an airport in Kabul run by the Taliban to facilitate a frantic and often dangerous evacuation mission. The Biden administration has come under heavy criticism for its handling of the pullout, and some military officials last week told Congress they believed the United States should have kept troops in the country. Still, Biden argued his options were limited by a troop withdrawal agreement signed by the Taliban and the Trump administration last year. Administration officials say the expansion of the US mission in Afghanistan could lead to a resumption of hostilities with the Taliban, forcing the Pentagon to deploy more troops and re-engage in a war Biden called obsolete. and unnecessary.

Further reading

Even Democrats don’t think Biden did a good job on pulling out of Afghanistan, poll shows (Forbes)


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