Americans evenly divided on whether Afghanistan War was a mistake: Gallup

Americans are evenly divided on whether the war in Afghanistan was a mistake, as the U.S.’s troop withdrawal from the region nears completion.

Gallup reported on Monday that 47 percent of Americans believe U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan was a mistake, while 46 percent support the mission.

President Biden announced in April that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that gave rise to the longest war in American history.

Earlier this month, however, Biden moved up the target date for pulling all troops from the region, revealing that the U.S. military mission would end by Aug. 31.

More than 2,400 U.S. service members have died in Afghanistan, according to Gallup. The war, which has cost the U.S. more than $2 trillion, has left upwards of 20,000 U.S. troops injured.

The poll, conducted between July 6 and July 21, was the second time in history that fewer than half of Americans said U.S. involvement in Afghanistan was not a mistake, according to Gallup.

Support for sending troops into Afghanistan was high in October 2001, shortly after the U.S. sent troops into the country, with 80 percent of Americans supporting the move, and 18 percent opposed.

Support for the war increased the next year, with a record-high 93 percent of Americans saying it was not a mistake to deploy troops to the country.

In 2014, however, backing for the war slipped. That year was the first time U.S. adults were as likely to say it was a mistake to send troops into Afghanistan as they were to say it was not, Gallup reported.

Of the Americans polled that year, 49 percent said the U.S. made a mistake sending troops into Afghanistan, while 48 percent said it was not a mistake.

Support rose again in 2015 and 2019. This year, it is back on par with the results from 2014, according to the polling organization.

As the U.S.’s withdrawal effort nears the completion concerns are growing about the stability of the Afghan government once American forces vacate the country, particularly as the Taliban continues to make gains in the region.

The U.S. military carried out two strikes against the Taliban last week, targeting captured equipment, according to CNN. The efforts were in support of the Afghan forces in Kandahar province.

Gallup polled a random sample of 1,007 adults in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.