US has failed to achieve its goals in Afghanistan: survey

Published October 7, 2018
A US soldier inspects the site of a suicide attack in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province. ─AFP/File
A US soldier inspects the site of a suicide attack in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province. ─AFP/File

WASHINGTON: More Americans are now saying that despite 17 years of war, the United States has failed to achieve its goals in Afghanistan, says a survey released on Saturday.

The Pew Research Centre, Washington, which conducted the survey from Sept 18-24, found that about half of American adults (49 per cent) believe the United States has mostly failed to achieve its goals in Afghanistan. About a third (35pc) say Washington has mostly while another 16pc say they do not know if the US has succeeded or failed.

Between 2009 and 2011, when asked whether the US will succeed or fail to achieve its goals, majority said the US would be successful. But in 2014 and 2015, opinions about the mission were similarly more negative than positive.

In this month’s survey, Republicans appear more optimistic than Democrats that the US mission in Afghanistan has succeeded in achieving its goals, according to the new survey. About half of Republicans and Republican-lean­ing independents (48pc) say the US has succeeded, compared with about three-in-ten Democrats and Demo­cratic-leaning independents (28pc).

According to Pew Research Centre, American public has become more divided on whether the 2001 invasion was right or wrong decision

Three years ago, during the presidency of Barack Obama, partisan opinions were nearly the reverse: 42pc of Democrats said the US had succeeded, compared with 29pc of Republicans.

As Afghanistan becomes America’s longest-ever military engagement, the American public has become more divided on whether the 2001 invasion was the right or the wrong decision. Today, 45pc say the US made the right decision in using military force and 39pc say it was the wrong decision.

The share of Americans saying the initial decision was right declined over time. In 2006, 69pc said it was the right decision and 20pc said it was the wrong decision. In early 2002, a few months after the start of the war, 83pc of Americans said they approved of the US-led military campaign against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Republicans have consistently expressed more support than Democrats for the decision to use force in Afghanistan, though support has fallen in both parties over the past decade.

About two-thirds of Republicans and Republican sympathisers (66pc) now say it was the right decision to use force in Afghanistan.

Only about a third of Democrats and Democratic sympathisers (31pc) say the same. About half of Democrats (53pc) say it was a wrong decision, compared with 21pc of Republicans.

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2018

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