Americans Are Deeply Unhappy With Biden's Withdrawal From Afghanistan

Published September 4th, 2021 - 07:51 GMT
President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden (Twitter)
Against ex-President George W. Bush, Biden has an even wider gap of 11 points in approval ratings and 10 points in disapproval. 

Americans are deeply unhappy with President Joe Biden after the United States' disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan that left at least 100 Americans and thousands of Afghans who aided the US military behind in the Taliban-controlled country, a new poll released Friday finds.

Just 44 percent of Americans approve of Biden's job in office against 51 percent who disapprove, according to the ABC News/Washington Post survey.

The poll was conducted from August 29 until September 1 - bookending when the last US military jet departed Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on August 30.

A breakdown of the numbers shows just 36 percent of Independent voters approving of Biden, while only 8 percent of Republicans think he's doing a good job.

His approval is still strong amongst fellow Democrats at 86 percent - though it's a steep drop to just 56 percent approving of his job in Afghanistan.

The 44 percent figure is a six-point drop from Biden's June approval numbers. His disapproval shot up by nine points since then.

Since August 14, when Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, US and coalition forces evacuated more than 123,000 people through the Kabul airport. Roughly 6,000 of them were Americans.

Monday's final evacuation flights marked the end of a 20-year war that cost Americans roughly $2 trillion. 

More than three-quarters of people surveyed agreed the US needed to withdraw from Afghanistan, but 60 percent disagree with how Biden did it.

Only 30 percent approve of how he handled it.

A majority of people also think Biden shares blame for the ISIS-K-claimed suicide attack outside of the Kabul airport, which left 170 Afghans and 13 US servicemembers dead. 

Fifty-three percent of Americans blame Biden for the devastating explosion - 38 percent say he shares 'a great deal of blame.' 

Many worry the US is now in a less safe position, and 8 percent believe withdrawing made the country safer.

According to the poll nearly half of Americans 'lack confidence that the United States can identify and keep out possible terrorists in the ranks of Afghan refugees.'

Despite that, 68 percent of people support taking in thoroughly vetted refugees.t  

Biden's approval numbers seven months into his term fall flat against two of the three other presidents who oversaw the war in Afghanistan.

His ex-boss, former President Obama, was viewed favorably by 54 percent of the country at this point in his term - a full 10 points above Biden. His disapproval was also eight points lower.

Against ex-President George W. Bush, Biden has an even wider gap of 11 points in approval ratings and 10 points in disapproval. 

Biden still beats out former President Trump, whose approval to disapproval rating at this point in his term was 37 to 58.

But as far as Democrats go, Biden's approval is lower than six of his last predecessors.

On August 18 the president told ABC News he was committed to keeping troops in Afghanistan until every American who wanted to leave could.

'If there's American citizens left, we're gonna stay to get them all out,' Biden said.

But after the US withdrew from Kabul, US Central Command chief General McKenzie admitted to reporters Monday that 'We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out.'

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that night that 'We believe there are still a small number of Americans, under 200 and likely closer to 100, who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave.'

Thousands of Afghan interpreters were also left, many who fear they have targets on their backs now that the Taliban run the country.

That includes an interpreter named Mohammed, who notably helped rescue Biden in 2008 when a Blackhawk helicopter he was in had to make an emergency landing in a remote Afghan valley during a snow storm. 

Press Secretary Jen Psaki vowed the US would get him out but didn't elaborate on how.

Mohammed spoke to Fox & Friends on Thursday and told them he felt betrayed by the president he rescued.

'They left me and my family and like me, the other people left behind. But it's very scary, man, as we are under great risk,' he told the US media outlet. 

When asked what message he has for Biden, he said: 'Hello, President, do not leave. Do not forget me and my family.' 

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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