Poll: Americans Growing More Negative About Success in Afghanistan

A U.S. Soldier conducts a search at the Maiwand District in Hutal, Afghanistan  in  2009. A U.S. Soldier conducts a search at the Maiwand District in Hutal, Afghanistan in 2009. Defense Department

More than half of Americans believe the United States has mostly failed to achieve its goals with the war in Afghanistan, according to a poll released Thursday.

The USA Today/Pew Research Center poll is a stark contrast to one released in June 2011 following the death of Osama bin Laden. At that time, 58 percent said they believed the United States would achieve its goals in Afghanistan.

Fifty-two percent of Americans said the United States has mostly failed to achieve its goals in the country, compared with 38 percent who said the U.S. has mostly succeeded, according to Tuesday's poll.

The poll was conducted Jan. 15-19 among 1,504 adults, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Despite uncertainty over the United States reaching its goals, 51 percent of Americans said the decision to use military force was the right one, compared with 41 percent who said it wasn't. In January 2009, 64 percent said using military force was the right call.

And there's little partisan divide on whether the United States has achieved its goals. Fifty-two percent of Republicans said it has mostly failed, compared with 48 percent of Democrats and 54 percent of independents.

A question on whether the United States had achieved its goals in Iraq garnered nearly exact results. Fifty-two percent said the United States had mostly failed, while 37 percent believe it has mostly succeeded.

The poll comes as U.S. officials and NATO allies are uncertain what—if any—military involvement they will have in Afghanistan after this year. U.S.-Afghan relations have been strained over President Hamid Karzai's refusal to sign a bilateral security agreement until after the country's elections later this year. U.S. officials have argued that delaying the signing hurts military planning and increases the chance that the United States will remove all of its troops by the end of the 2014.

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