Fewer than four in 10 Americans say the war in Afghanistan was worth fighting – up from its low but still a broadly negative judgment on the United States’ longest conflict.
Asked to consider its costs vs. benefits, 38 percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll say the war in Afghanistan was worth fighting; 56 percent say it was not. While still a negative view, that’s eased from 28-67 percent in July 2013, as U.S. forces gradually have disengaged.
Americans divide essentially evenly on whether the conflict achieved its aim of improving long-term U.S. security, 48-47 percent. But only 19 percent say it contributed “a great deal” to the security of the United States, a key reason most say it wasn’t worth fighting.
Despite these attitudes, the survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds majority support for plans to keep up to 10,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan “to train Afghan forces and assist in counter-insurgency operations” in the year ahead: Fifty-four percent are in favor, though a substantial 43 percent are opposed.
The United States and its NATO allies officially ended their combat role in Afghanistan last week, 13 years after the U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban government in response to its support for the al Qaeda terrorist network. More than 2,200 U.S. soldiers were killed, as were more than 1,000 from allied nations and thousands of Afghan civilians.