WASHINGTON — Americans express near-record discontent and regret over the 13-year war in Afghanistan after more than 2,100 U.S. deaths and more than 19,000 wounded soldiers, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Sixty-six percent of Americans say the war, which began with nearly unanimous support, has not been worth fighting. A majority of Americans have doubted the war's value in each Post-ABC poll since 2010, with current disapproval one percentage point below July's record mark. A record 50 percent now "strongly" believe the war is not worth the costs.
Despite the skepticism, a 55 percent majority favors keeping some U.S. forces in Afghanistan going forward for anti-insurgency operations and training, while just over four in 10 prefer removing all troops from the country.
The future U.S. military role remains in limbo because Afghan President Hamid Karzai has declined to sign a bilateral security agreement that would keep an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 U.S. troops in the country after 2014.
The U.S. military is rapidly drawing down forces in Afghanistan, shrinking its current 47,000-troop commitment to 32,000 in February. The Obama administration had said a delay in signing the agreement could lead to a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces, as happened in Iraq when the governments in Baghdad and Washington failed to sign a security agreement. The White House later softened its demand that the security agreement be signed by the end of the year but insists quick approval is necessary for planning the future U.S. role.
The poll was conducted Dec. 12-15 among a random national sample of 1,005 adults, including interviews on landlines and with cellphone-only respondents. The overall margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.