Poll finds majority favor accelerated withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan

A solid majority of Americans say the war in Afghanistan is going poorly and that troops should return home before the Obama administration’s 2014 deadline, according to a CNN-ORC poll released Friday.

Seventy-two percent now oppose the war, while 25 percent said they were in favor. Fifty-five percent said they want U.S. troops out of the country before the 2014 deadline, versus 22 percent who are satisfied with the present withdrawal schedule.

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In addition, it’s the first time since the war began in 2001 that the poll shows a majority of Republicans, 56 percent, are now against it.

Earlier this month, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that he wants an accelerated drawdown of American troops from the country. 

Karzai's demand came amid fury in his country over the killing of 17 civilians, allegedly by a U.S. soldier. The Army staff sergeant accused of the massacre, whom American officials say has admitted involvement in the incident, is now being held in the United States, further angering Afghans, who have demanded that he be tried in their country. 

The situation in the region was combustible even before the American soldier’s alleged shooting spree. Last month an incident in which U.S. soldiers accidentally burned Qurans set off violent protests in the country.

Earlier this month, President Obama held a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, in which he acknowledged the delicate nature of the situation, but said none of the recent events would provoke a “rush for the exits” from Afghanistan, and that the U.S. withdrawal would continue to unfold as planned.