Support for the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has plummeted, a new poll shows, following the Taliban’s retaking of the country at lightning speed and widespread criticism of how the American exit unfolded.
The Morning Consult/Politico poll found that 49% supported President Joe Biden’s decision to pull troops from the country, down 20 points from an identical survey taken in April. More than a third said they opposed leaving, up from 16% four months ago.
Biden announced in May that troops would leave Afghanistan, imposing a Sept. 11 deadline in a bid to end the longest war in American history. But the exit unfolded in frenzied fashion as the Taliban closed in on Kabul, the Afghan capital, in a matter of days, risking the security of Americans still in the city and thousands of Afghans who aided U.S. troops over the 20-year war.
While Biden said he was surprised at how quickly the Taliban were able to regain power, he defended his decision in a speech Monday.
This did unfold more quickly than we anticipated,” Biden admitted, noting that Afghan troops “collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight,” and that “Afghanistan’s political leaders gave up and fled the country.” (RELATED: Taliban Take Presidential Palace As Afghan President Flees)
“I stand squarely behind my decision,” he later said.
While 69% of Democrats said they support withdrawal, that was down 15 points since April. Republican support stood at 31%, down 21 points, while Independent support fell from 61% to 44%.
One quarter of respondents said they believed the withdrawal was going at least somewhat well, compared to 57% who said the opposite.
The 1,999-person poll was conducted from Aug. 13-16, finishing one day after the Taliban successfully seized the capital. It has a margin of error of two points.
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