Disillusionment with the War in Afghanistan has reached a three year high, while Americans are split over direct negotiations with the Taliban
With the war in Afghanistan now in its twelfth year, US Secretary of State John Kerry has recently tried to salvage peace talks between the US and Taliban, following the Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s refusal to talk if the US negotiates directly with the Taliban. Today, new YouGov research finds the dillusionment with the war at a high, with the amount of Americans saying the war was a "mistake" the most since when we started asking the question in 2010.
44% now say that sending troops to Afghanistan was a mistake, while 35% say it was not. In February 2010, 32% said the war was a mistake and 45% said it was not, while in March 2012, 36% said it was a mistake and 39% said it was not.
Views remain different on opposite sides of the aisle, however. Democrats are more likely to say that the war was a mistake, with 44% saying it was and 33% saying it was not. On the other hand, 51% of Republicans say the war was not a mistake versus 31% who say it was. Independents, however, are the group most likely to call the war a mistake, with 51% calling it such and only 27% saying it was not.
Regarding the peace talks with the Taliban which the US is currently attempting, 38% are in favor of the “US government engaging in direct peace talks with the Taliban over the war in Afghanistan” while 39% oppose the discussions.
Partisan loyalties seem partially at play with 52% of Democrats backing Sec. Kerry's plan to negotiate with the Taliban while only 26% of Republicans do.
As for the United States' overall strategy in Afghanistan, a plurality of Americans (38%) support leaving Afghanistan as soon as possible, while 29% prefer sticking to the planned 2014 withdrawal and 17% say the United States should stay there until it accomplishes its goals.
Since we last asked in March 2012, the number of Americans supporting the 2014 withdrawal has increased around 10%. However, with the year 2014 approaching, the effective difference between a withdrawal at the end of 2014 and one "as soon as possible" is narrowing.
You can find the complete results here.