Americans back faster Afghan withdrawal: Poll

March 15th, 2012 - 11:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, March 15 (IANS) Around half of the Americans who participated in a Gallup poll said the US should speed up withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, according to the findings released Thursday.

During the survey of 1,006 Americans, 50 percent said the US should accelerate withdrawal from Afghanistan while 24 percent prefer sticking to the current timetable to leave by the end of 2014.

Another 21 percent said the US should stay as long as it takes to accomplish its goals, Xinhua reported.

The poll was conducted March 13, two days after a horrific incident in Afghanistan in which a US soldier killed 16 civilians.

The survey said the shooting incident, along with the burning of the Quran at a US military base, which caused a wave of anti-US protests across the country, had an impact on Americans’ attitudes toward the decade-long war.

More than a third of Americans said their opinions on how long US troops should remain in Afghanistan have changed because of events there in recent weeks.

Despite mounting pressure both at home and abroad to pull out troops faster, US President Barack Obama has vowed to stick to the current plan.

“I don’t anticipate at this stage that we’re going to be making any sudden additional changes to the plan that we currently have,” Obama said at a press conference at the White House after meeting visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron.

“We’re going to complete this mission and we’re going to do it responsibly and NATO will make sure that Afghanistan never becomes a place for an attack on our countries,” he said.

Around 90,000 US troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan, with 23,000 of them due home this year.

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