Poll: Voters split on whether they believe Biden was trying to score political points with Afghanistan withdrawal

Voters are split on whether President Biden was trying to score political points by pulling the U.S. out of Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a new nationwide Hill-HarrisX poll finds.

Fifty-one percent of surveyed registered voters across the country said they believed Biden’s move was politically motivated, while 49 percent said the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 was not a factor in the decision. 

The poll was conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 1 and surveyed 925 people. Aug. 31 was the deadline for evacuating Americans and Afghan allies from Afghanistan. 

Biden has defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, arguing that the 20-year war was no longer serving the national interest of the United States. However, the president has received bipartisan criticism over the quick fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, images of chaos from Kabul and questions about the evacuation of Americans and tens of thousands of Afghan allies.

The State Department said Thursday that 21 Americans were evacuated on a Qatar Airways charter flight from Kabul earlier that day. The flight marked a significant development after the Taliban was not allowing aircrafts with Americans and Afghan allies to leave for several days.

Fifty-one percent of respondents to the poll said they believe another terrorist attack on the U.S. is more likely following the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, as opposed to 13 percent of people who said they thought it was less likely. 

Eight-four percent of those surveyed said they believe Afghanistan has become a haven for terrorism, compared to 16 percent who said it has not. 

“The 20th anniversary of  9/11 is being observed by voters in the wake of what is seen as a mismanaged and damaging  pullout of US troops from Afghanistan,” Dritan Nesho, chief pollster and CEO of HarrisX, told Hill.TV.

“While voters are split on whether or not the hasty exit was driven by political deadlines and the want to score political points by ending America’s longest war before the 20th anniversary of this watershed day, a majority of voters now believe that another terrorist attack on US soil is more likely after the Afghanistan pullout, and 84 percent believe Afghanistan will become a haven for terrorism again,” Nesho added.

-Natalie Prieb


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