- The Washington Times
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Nearly three-quarters of veterans support a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a new poll released Wednesday shows.

The data, compiled by conservative activist group Concerned Veterans for America, shows a nearly 15% increase in support for a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, just over a month after a formal drawdown began.

“I think this shows the fatigue of almost two decades of war,” Nate Anderson, executive director of the group, told Military Times.

The U.S. last month began withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, a significant first step in its peace deal with the Taliban that was struck late February.

“I think there is increased awareness among the American public about how long we have been fighting,” Mr. Anderson said.

The group, which has close ties to the Koch network and Trump administration, Military Times reported, surveyed about 700 military veterans and about 800 military family members from April 7-10.

Of the veterans surveyed, 73% supported a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, while 69% of military family members expressed the same opinion.

More than half of veterans surveyed — 57% — said they believe the U.S. should be less engaged in military conflicts overseas, while just 7% said the U.S. should increase its involvement.

The poll comes amid U.S. efforts to withdraw troops from Afghanistan as part of a deal between the U.S. and the Taliban to end 18 years of war in the country.

The deal calls for a quick drawdown of U.S. forces from the current level of between 12,000 and 13,000 to about 8,600, with the remainder expected to leave within 14 months if the agreement holds.

But the Pentagon has since instituted strict travel restrictions on military personnel due to the coronavirus pandemic, raising questions about the logistics of moving thousands of troops and huge amounts of equipment out of the country. The Defense Department also is redirecting many of its resources to coronavirus response efforts.

Still, officials say the overall plan in Afghanistan remains in place.

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