Majority of Americans Believe that U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan was a Mistake

Saturday, December 21, 2013
(AP Photo)

In an opinion that largely crosses party lines, two-thirds of Americans say it was a mistake to go to war in Afghanistan, a new national poll reveals.


The Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 66% of respondents said the war has not been worth fighting. That view is held by 67% of Democrats, 54% of Republicans, and 71% of independents.


During the 13-year conflict in Afghanistan, 2,289 U.S. troops have died and more than 19,000 have been wounded.


The Washington Post says a majority of respondents in each Post-ABC poll since 2010 have doubted the war’s value. The current 66% disapproval mark is only 1% off July’s record high. The current survey did record a new high (50%) among those who “strongly” believe the war was not worth its costs.


And yet, 55% of respondents favor keeping some U.S. forces in Afghanistan for anti-insurgency operations and training. Only about 40% prefer a complete withdrawal of all troops.


Another poll (pdf) released this week (Associated Press-GfK) revealed that 57% of Americans said the U.S. was wrong to start the Afghanistan war.


The survey also revealed 53% disapprove of President Barack Obama’s handling of the conflict, with 45% approving.


Fifty-three percent said the U.S. should speed up the withdrawal of troops.


The sentiment of the public has changed drastically since 2001. Americans had stood in near unanimous support of the U.S.-led airstrikes on Afghanistan that were launched one month after the September 11 attacks. At that time, 94% of Americans favored the military action, as did 91% of those surveyed six months afterward, according to a Post-ABC poll.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Majority of Americans say Afghan War has not been Worth Fighting, Post-ABC News Poll Finds (by Scott Clement, Washington Post)

Majority of Americans: Invading Afghanistan Was 'Wrong Thing to Do' (by Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams)

Post-ABC Poll: Afghanistan War Not Worth Costs, Two-Thirds Say (Washington Post)

The AP-GfK Poll (GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications) (pdf)

Majority of Americans Think Iraq War Wasn’t Worth It (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

U.S. Presence in Afghanistan Now Longer than Soviet Occupation (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Military Leaders Want to Stay in Afghanistan…10 Years Not Enough (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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