Half of Britons think US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan was wrong

Support cuts across party lines, with a majority of both Conservative and Labour voters against the pullout

Almost half of the public believes that the US decision to end its military involvement in Afghanistan was wrong, according to a new Observer poll that shows only a fifth of voters backed the move.

The latest Opinium/Observer poll found that 48% of the public opposed Biden’s controversial order, with a majority of both Conservative (56%) and Labour (54%) voters against the pullout. Voters appear to have taken a dim view of the performance of foreign secretary Dominic Raab after it emerged he was on a beach holiday as Kabul fell. Just 23% approve of the job he is doing, with 41% disapproving. It gives him a net approval rating of -18, lower than both the prime minister and Keir Starmer.

The poll also revealed that there is more support than opposition to the dedicated refugee programme for Afghans, with 43% backing the scheme and 27% opposing it. The government has said it will eventually take 20,000 refugees, including 5,000 this year.

Was Joe Biden's decision to withdraw from Afghanistan right or wrong?

However, the issue attracts more political divisions. Conservative voters are more likely to oppose the idea than support it, by a margin of 40% to 31%. Labour voters are much more likely to support a dedicated programme, 59% to 19%.

There is a clear majority of support (65%) for granting refugee status to those who gave support to the UK during its operations in Afghanistan, as well as their families.

The majority (51%) still said they supported the original decision to join the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 in order to remove the Taliban regime, with 20% saying it was wrong.

Opinium polled 2,003 people online from 19-20 August.


Michael Savage

The GuardianTramp

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