Views split on whether war in Afghanistan was a mistake: poll

Views split on whether war in Afghanistan was a mistake: poll
© Getty Images

Eighteen years after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, Americans are split on the necessity of the war, with just over half saying it was not a mistake in a new poll from Gallup.

The survey found 52 percent of respondents say the U.S. invasion, initially launched in response to the Taliban’s refusal to turn over Osama bin Laden, was not a mistake, compared to 43 percent who say it was.

ADVERTISEMENT

The split is roughly the same as the one Gallup found four years ago, when 54 percent it was not a mistake and 42 percent said it was.

Although the divide has largely stabilized in recent years, it is far more balanced than in the initial years following the invasion. In July 2004, only 25 percent opposed the war, a figure that had climbed to 43 percent by August 2010.

Opposition shrunk slightly after the death of bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011, when 39 percent said it was a mistake and 58 percent said it was not.

Since 2011, however, the slight majority in favor has persisted except for in 2014, when then-President Obama announced a withdrawal plan, when the split narrowed to 49 percent believing it was a mistake and 48 percent believing it was not.

Self-identified Democrats have been more likely to believe the war was a mistake than Republicans since 2013. Democrats have been about twice as likely to describe the war as a mistake during this six-year period. This divide, too, was highest in 2014, with 61 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of Republicans calling the war a mistake.

While the divide is narrower in 2019, the percentage of Republicans saying the war was a mistake has shrunk to 25 percent compared to Democrats’ 53 percent, according to Gallup.

The survey was conducted Aug. 15-30, amid ongoing peace talks between U.S. and Taliban representatives and ahead of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. A random sample of 2,291 adults nationwide was surveyed on landlines and cellphones. The poll has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The polling took place before President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE abruptly announced the cancellation of planned talks with Taliban representatives at Camp David following an attack by the militant group that killed an American service member.