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Voters Largely Support Afghanistan Withdrawal Even If It Means Al-Qaeda Resurgence, Poll Finds

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 25, 2021


Americans in large part want U.S. troops out of Afghanistan even if it means terrorist groups like al-Qaeda might reestablish operations under Taliban rule, a Morning Consult/Politico poll found, as support for the U.S. withdrawal remains widely popular among the American public despite concerns it’s been handled poorly.

Key Facts

Some 45% of registered voters polled said the U.S. “definitely should” or “probably should” still withdraw even if it provides an opening for al-Qaeda, while 40% said the possibility meant U.S. military presence in the country should remain.

Support for the U.S. withdrawal has risen over the past week, according to Morning Consult/Politico, after taking a hit as the Taliban quickly seized control of the country earlier this month.

Polling done Aug. 13-16 found only 35% of voters supported a U.S. withdrawal if it meant al-Qaeda gaining a foothold in Afghanistan, but that number increased to 42% in an Aug. 16-19 poll before rising to 45% in the latest Aug. 21-24 poll.

There is a noticeable gap between Republicans and Democrats on the issue, with 59% of Democrats backing withdrawal even if it could mean an al-Qaeda resurgence—a position only 32% of Republicans hold.

There were 1,996 registered voters surveyed on the issue in the Aug. 21-24 poll.

What To Watch For

All U.S. troops are set to leave Afghanistan by Tuesday. The troops still on the ground are working to maintain control of Hamid Karzai International Airport while the U.S. conducts mass evacuations of its citizens in the country, along with Afghan allies.

Key Background

The nearly 20-year U.S. involvement in Afghanistan began after the country’s Taliban rulers refused to hand over al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden or other terrorists responsible for attacks in the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. The U.S. military invasion in October 2001 quickly deposed the Taliban, leading to years of U.S. combat against an insurgency they mounted as the conflict became increasingly unpopular among the American public. Under the administration of President Donald Trump, the U.S. entered a peace deal with the Taliban as the U.S. worked to withdraw its remaining troops from the country. President Joe Biden moved forward with plans to end U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan after taking office, saying the U.S. had accomplished its goal of killing bin Laden and degrading al-Qaeda in the country. A major Taliban offensive earlier this month led to the insurgents capturing all of the country’s large cities, including Kabul, over a period of just 11 days.

Big Number

$2 trillion. That’s about how much money the Afghan conflict has cost the U.S., a price tag that breaks down to about $300 million a day.

Further Reading

The War In Afghanistan Cost America $300 Million Per Day For 20 Years, With Big Bills Yet To Come (Forbes)

Biden Sticks To August 31 Deadline For Afghanistan As Some In His Party Demand Extension (Forbes)

7 Days Under The Taliban: Photos Of Kabul Under Its New Rulers (Forbes)


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