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Majority of Americans Support Withdrawal from Afghanistan, but Criticize Its Implementation

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Soldiers and civilians boarding an evacuation plane out of Afghanistan.

A new Chicago Council on Global Affairs-Ipsos survey suggests that most Americans are not second-guessing the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. But they are critical of what they perceive as a lack of planning and forethought on the part of the Biden administration. At the same time, it is unclear how durable an effect these criticisms will have on the Biden presidency once Afghanistan is out of the headlines.

Two in Three Support US Withdrawal, but Republicans Now Oppose 

A new Chicago Council-Ipsos survey conducted August 23–26 finds that two-thirds (64%) of Americans continue to support the US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. While this survey was conducted mostly before the August 26 suicide bombing that killed 13 US soldiers and at least 170 Afghan civilians, other analyses of attitudes both before and after that attack found little change in overall opinion.  

An earlier 2021 Chicago Council Survey, fielded July 7–26 before the Taliban took over the country, found slightly higher support for withdrawal (70%). But there is another key difference with the new August results:  the July poll found bipartisan agreement, but attitudes are now more polarized along political lines. Eight in 10 self-identified Democrats (81%) and two in three Independents (65%) support the decision, while a majority of Republicans now oppose it (57%).  



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