About two-thirds of Americans say they don’t think America’s longest war was worth fighting, according to the poll conducted by the AP-NORC Public Affairs Research Center. 47% approve of Biden’s management in international affairs, 52% agree with the president on national security.
The poll was conducted from August 12-16 when the two-decade-long war in Afghanistan ended with the return of the Taliban to power and the capture of Kabul. Biden has faced condemnation from politicians from both parties in Washington for sparking a humanitarian crisis. From the different political spaces they criticize the withdrawal strategy for having left the Afghan Government in a position of extreme fragility to face the advance of the Taliban.
But public opinion is, like Biden, reluctant to prolong the wars of the past two decades any longer.
About two-thirds of those surveyed also say that the Iraq war, which coincided with Afghanistan, was a mistake. Republicans are somewhat more likely than Democrats to say that it makes sense to have fought in both countries’ wars – four out of 10 Republicans do so, compared to three out of 10 Democrats.
About half of Americans say they are extremely or very concerned about the threat posed to the United States by extremist groups located outside the country. Only one in 10 says they are not worried.
Nearly 20 years after the 9/11 attacks that sparked the Afghanistan war, more Americans say they perceive the major threats to national security as internal. Two-thirds say they are extremely or very concerned about the threat from US-based extremist groups. While a quarter are somewhat concerned and one in 10 is not.
Republicans and Democrats view the threat from extremist groups outside the United States in a similar light: About half of them, in each of these political spaces, are extremely or very concerned. But Democrats are more likely to be more concerned than Republicans about the threat from extremist groups in the United States: the figure rises from 75% to 57% depending on the party.
Biden has put the focus of his political agenda on domestic issues such as rebuilding the United States economy after the coronavirus pandemic. That seems to be being welcomed by Americans who view Afghanistan as a distant war.
The evolution of public opinion in the coming weeks will depend, in any case, on the events in Afghanistan.
After seeing hundreds of Afghans clinging to American military planes in a desperate attempt to flee the country, the opinion of some American citizens, including those who opposed the war, has also changed.
“We shouldn’t have been there to begin with,” he told AP Sebastian Garcia, a 23-year-old Biden voter from Texas, who claimed to have three cousins deployed to Afghanistan. “But now that we’re leaving, I think we should probably stick around after seeing the trouble we’ve caused.”