News

Some Afghans Worry About Diminishing US Public Support for War

Afghan forces stand guard during a security transition ceremony from private security companies to the Afghan government in Kabul, March 15, 2012.
Afghan forces stand guard during a security transition ceremony from private security companies to the Afghan government in Kabul, March 15, 2012.
Brian Padden

In Afghanistan, reaction has been mixed to new U.S. public opinion polls indicating that a majority of Americans no longer support the war in Afghanistan. While anti-American sentiment in Afghanistan is on the rise, it is tempered by fears that a sudden pullout of foreign troops could plunge the country into civil war.

The increased American disillusionment over the continued U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan reflected in recent nationwide polls follows a period of turmoil in Afghanistan.  The killing of 17 Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier and the inadvertent burning of Qurans at an American military base have increased tensions and undermined trust between Afghan forces and their international coalition partners. The Quran burning incident set off a week of violent anti-American protests and attacks on international forces, and the Taliban suspended peace talks with the U.S. being held in Qatar.

The latest attacks on international forces occurred Monday, when an Afghan soldier killed two British troops in southern Afghanistan and a man believed to be a member of a local police force killed an American soldier in eastern Afghanistan

According to the U.S. Defense Department at least 80 NATO troops have been killed by Afghan security forces since May 2007.

The polls indicate the American public is growing weary of the decade-old war and a growing number of people want President Barack Obama to speed up the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.

Many Afghans are also weary of the war and want U.S. soldiers involved in crimes and misconduct to be punished.  But on the streets of Kabul, people like Ahmad Balal Zaland do not want international forces to leave Afghanistan prematurely.

“We don't want them to leave because they're the people who actually really help Afghan people and they are the main people who support Afghanistan,” said Zaland.

Sarwar Wazeri fears that if international forces leave now, it will lead to an all-out civil war involving the Afghan security forces, the Taliban and other ethnic and tribal factions.

He says there is still a lot of fighting going on in the country and if foreign forces leave, anarchy will certainly follow.

Despite the drop in American support for the war, President Obama and U.S. military leaders have reiterated their commitment to the 2014 timetable, which calls for gradually turning over portions of the country to Afghan security forces and maintaining a reduced military presence after that to provide support and stability.

Shukria Barakzai, a member of the Afghan parliament's defense committee, says neither the U.S. nor Afghanistan should should make long-term policy decisions based on temporarily inflamed tensions between the U.S. and Afghanistan.

“The Afghan public, also they are tired from everyday casualties, but this is not the time that we should go and choose on an emotional way," said barakzai. "We should think on a mature way how possible is and the consequence and the result of early withdrawal.”

She says both countries need to stay focused on what unites them - the need to fight al-Qaida and other Islamic militant groups, and to ensure regional stability.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs