A CNN/ORC International survey released on December 30 indicates that 82 percent of Americans are opposed to U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, with only 17 percent responding that they still support the operation. The percentage who say they support the U.S. presence in the chaotic Asian nation is down from 52 percent in December 2008. During the 2008 survey, only 46 percent of respondents opposed our involvement in the conflict.
“Those numbers show the war in Afghanistan with far less support than other conflicts,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland commented on the poll’s results. “Opposition to the Iraq war never got higher than 69 percent in CNN polling while U.S. troops were in that country, and while the Vietnam War was in progress, no more than six in 10 ever told Gallup’s interviewers that war was a mistake.”
Holland also noted the higher opposition to the war among those who identified themselves as political independents: “Independents have a much gloomier view of the war in Afghanistan than Republicans or Democrats. That may be because a Republican president started the war and a Democratic president has continued it, so there may be some residual support among people who identify with either party.”
CNN also reported that although the U.S. timetable calls for the withdrawal of nearly all American forces by the end of 2014, slightly more than one half of those polled would rather see U.S. troops withdrawn earlier than that deadline. Only a quarter say that the United States should still have troops in Afghanistan after that date.
The withdrawal of U.S. troops at the end of 2014 is by no means certain, however. Speaking at an event held at the Brookings Institution’s Falk Auditorium in Washington, D.C., on March 26, 2012, Gen. John Allen, the former commander of international forces in Afghanistan, said that the United States would retain a troop presence in Afghanistan sufficiently large to support Afghan forces after the withdrawal of international combat troops at the end of 2014.
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Photo of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan