Americans' support for Afghan war drops sharply: poll

WASHINGTON Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:42pm EDT

A U.S. Army soldier from Bravo Company, 2nd Batallion, 35th Infantry Division, Task Force Cacti stands guard as his comrades have a meeting with Afghan National Army soldiers at an Afghan military base in Marawara district in Kunar province, eastern Afghanistan March 14, 2012. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

A U.S. Army soldier from Bravo Company, 2nd Batallion, 35th Infantry Division, Task Force Cacti stands guard as his comrades have a meeting with Afghan National Army soldiers at an Afghan military base in Marawara district in Kunar province, eastern Afghanistan March 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Erik De Castro

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Support for the war in Afghanistan has dropped sharply among Americans in recent months as they grow increasingly disillusioned with the conflict that began more than a decade ago, according to a New York Times/CBS News public opinion poll released on Monday.

Two-thirds of those polled - 69 percent - said the United States should no longer be fighting in Afghanistan, up from 53 percent in November and the highest percentage since the New York Times/CBS News poll started asking that question in 2009, CBS reported.

Sixty-eight percent said the fighting was going "somewhat badly" or "very badly," compared with 42 percent who voiced those views in November 2011, the New York Times reported.

The Times/CBS News survey results are in line with other recent polls that show a drop in support for the war. The survey comes after the massacre of 17 Afghan civilians in which a U.S. soldier has been charged, violence set off by the burning of Korans by American troops last month and a number of killings of U.S. troops by Afghan security forces.

According to the poll, negative impressions of the war have increased among both Democrats and Republicans.

Sixty percent of Republicans said the war was going somewhat or very badly, compared with 40 percent in November. Among Democrats, 68 percent said the war was going somewhat or very badly, compared with 38 percent in November.

NATO plans to hand over security responsibilities to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. Forty-four percent of respondents said the United States should withdraw sooner than the planned transition; 33 percent said the Obama administration should stick to the current timetable; and 3 percent said it should withdraw now. Seventeen percent said the United States should stay as long as it would take to stabilize the situation.

The poll of 996 adults was conducted by telephone from March 21 to 25, and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

(Reporting By JoAnne Allen; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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