Poll: Only 14 Percent Believe US Won Afghan War

Only 14 percent of Americans believe the United States has won the ongoing war in Afghanistan, according to a recent YouGov poll.

Nevertheless, Americans who support the decision to send U.S. troops to Afghanistan in the first place outnumber those who believe it was a mistake to do so.

“Despite the widespread perception that the U.S. is not departing Afghanistan victoriously, only 35% of Americans say that it was a mistake to send troops to fight in Afghanistan in the first place, while 37% say that it was not a mistake,” reports YouGov.

The poll released Tuesday found that 14 percent of Americans believe the U.S. won the Afghanistan war; 33 percent believe the war has been lost; and 53 percent are not sure either way.

Only 20 percent of respondents believe Afghanistan will become a stable democracy in the future while 59 percent say it will not.

The U.S. has lost 2,213 soldiers and spent nearly $1 trillion in the Afghanistan war, which started on Oct. 7, 2001. At more than 13 years old, it is the longest war in American history.

The majority (45 percent) of those who believe getting involved in the Afghanistan conflict was a mistake are Democrats. Independents (32 percent) and Republicans (27 percent) make up the bulk of those who think otherwise.

“When combat operations ended in Iraq in 2011, 51% of Americans said that it was a mistake to invade Iraq,” notes YouGov.

The American public, mainly Republicans, narrowly approves (43 percent) of the plan to leave an estimated 11,000 soldiers in Afghanistan to train and assist their Afghan counterparts until 2016. YouGov shows that 37 percent of Americans disapprove of that plan.

Although the Afghanistan war came to a symbolic end when President Obama ended the combat mission last month, an estimated 11,000 U.S. soldiers remain in Afghanistan carrying out the new train and assist mission, which will still involve counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

2014 was the deadliest year of the war and the Taliban continues to fuel violence across the country.

When speaking to CBS’ “60 Minutes” in an interview aired on Jan. 4, Gen. John Campbell, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, reminded Americans that U.S. forces will remain “in harm’s way” after the combat mission ends.

“I think the American people, many of them, that’s what they think — that we’ve totally come out of Afghanistan. And we’ve reduced the size of our forces over the last two years,” said Gen. Campbell. “But again, we’ll continue to have at least 9,800 men and women from the United States here in Afghanistan after 1 January [2015].”

“I would hope that the American people understand the great sacrifice of our men and women. That will continue. And we should all be very proud of that,” he added. “And although we have reduced the number of casualties significantly, they’ve gone down, you know, we will continue to have men and women that will be in harm’s way, as we’ve talked about.”

He noted that al-Qaeda remains active in Afghanistan even after 13 years of war, adding that the U.S. must keep the pressure on in the coming years.


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