National Security Brief: Large Majority Of Americans Say War In Afghanistan Wasn’t Worth Fighting


NATO troops in Afghanistan (Credit: AFP)

NATO troops in Afghanistan (Credit: AFP)

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll has found that just 28 percent of Americans believe that the war in Afghanistan is worth fighting, “the lowest number on record and clearly below the least-popular stretches of the Iraq war.”

Half of respondents said the war has not contributed to the long-term security of the United States and 96 percent said they’d like to see all (43) or most (53) U.S. troops out of Afghanistan “in the year ahead.”

The Post also notes that “[o]]verall support for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan has dropped 11 percentage points since March, a precipitous fall during a period marked by tension between U.S. officials and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a spring and summer resurgence in Taliban attacks, and the failure of ballyhooed peace talks with insurgents to get off the ground.”

The results match polling trends on Afghanistan over the past year, as many other polling firms have returned similar results.

The Obama administration is still deliberating how many U.S. forces to leave in Afghanistan after the scheduled withdrawal in 2014. Media reports have generally set the numbers anywhere between 5,000 and 12,000 while some administration officials have not ruled out a total exit, a position that former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker recently said is “mindless” and “criminal.”

In other news:

  • The New York Times reports: Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq told the Obama administration this month that Iran was interested in direct talks with the United States on Iran’s nuclear program, and said that Iraq was prepared to facilitate the negotiations, Western officials said Thursday.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports: The Obama administration, seeking to improve relations with Iranian President-elect Hasan Rouhani, eased restrictions on medical supplies, agricultural products and humanitarian aid entering the heavily sanctioned country.
  • The AP reports: The number of dead in Syria’s civil war has passed 100,000, the U.N. chief said Thursday, calling for urgent talks on ending 2½ years of violence even as President Bashar Assad’s government blasted the United States as an unsuitable peace broker.
  • The Times also reports: The Obama administration has concluded it is not legally required to determine whether the Egyptian military engineered a coup d’état in ousting President Mohamed Morsi, a senior administration official said Thursday, a finding that will allow it to continue to funnel $1.5 billion in American aid to Egypt each year.