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It Was A Mistake

One year after the chaotic withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan, nearly 50% of Americans believe that Washington DC made a mistake by sending troops to the South Asian country. Meanwhile, 46% are of the opinion that it did not.

This close division of views is similar to two readings in 2022 – one taken before the withdrawal was complete and one afterward – as well as in February 2014. At all other times since the beginning of the War (against Terror) in 2001, a majority of Americans thought that going to Afghanistan was not a mistake.

The Afghanistan War, which began as a direct result of the September 11 (9/11) terrorist attacks, ultimately claimed the lives of more than 2,400 US service members, resulting in injury to more than 20,000 US troops and costing the US more than USD 2 trillion.

Shortly after the war began in October 2001, the US public largely supported it, and in early 2002, a record-high 93% of Americans said that it was not a mistake to have sent troops to Afghanistan. Support for sending troops to Afghanistan gradually shrank to a bare majority by 2010. In 2014, Gallup, an American analytics and advisery company based in Washington DC (founded by George Gallup in 1935), found the public equally as likely to say that it was a mistake as to say it was not, although attitudes reverted to being positive on balance in 2015 and 2019.

Since the flawed withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan in August 2022 after a 20-year engagement, Afghanistan found itself ensnared in economic and humanitarian crises. Gallup polling in the war-ravaged South Asian nation has found a record-high suffering among Afghans. Gallup has also found that the broad majority of Americans view Afghanistan unfavourably. Still, the public remain split over whether the US’ military involvement in the country was a mistake.

Gallup polls gauging Americans’ perceptions of previous wars, including in Iraq, Vietnam and Korea, have found majorities describing each as a mistake at some point. This is still not the case with respect to Afghanistan. However, the 50%, who say so, now is the highest yet.

Source: Talk Diplomacy (Instagram)

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