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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Afghanistan From All Angles

As U.S. President Barack Obama weighs his options in Afghanistan, a new Gallup poll conducted over the weekend finds about a one-third of Americans (35%) supportive of Gen. Stanley McChrystal's request to send 40,000 more troops. But even more Americans (44%) would prefer that Obama begin to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan. The rest would prefer to send fewer than 40,000 more troops or for troop levels to be kept the same as they are. We'll release this data in our lead story Thursday morning, along with results by party and analysis from our Jeffrey M. Jones. (Update: Read the story).

When we asked in October about sending more troops to Afghanistan without giving a specific number, Americans had shifted to being about evenly divided, from being slightly more opposed in September.

According to reports, a key factor in Obama's thoughts on Afghanistan is the amount of confidence he places in Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Doubts about Karzai reportedly run high in the administration and world leaders have stepped up the amount of pressure on him to eradicate the type of corruption that marred the country's August election. Gallup finds Karzai's own constituents highly skeptical, with 81% of Afghans perceiving widespread corruption in the government even before the election. In the same survey, 49% of Afghans said they thought additional U.S. troops would help stabilize the security situation in the southern provinces.

In making his decision, both about troop levels and overall mission objectives, Obama is said to be leaning heavily on his Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, who Americans also tend to view favorably.

You can read more Gallup news about Afghanistan and sign up for Afghanistan e-mail alerts or RSS feeds here.


Scott said...
November 12, 2009 at 7:49 AM  

Unless we develop a comprehensive South Asia strategy, the most we can hope for is a temporary peace in Afghanistan.

What would such a strategy look like? Well, at the very least it requires some moderation of the strategic competition between India and Pakistan.

Without attention to this aspect of the problem, we really are only playing around at the edges of the conflict.

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