Afghan poll: majority want troops home
Updated on 05 November 2009
Seventy three per cent of people wanting British troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan, a YouGov survey for Channel 4 News reveals. YouGov president Peter Kellner breaks down the results.
Opposition to the war in Afghanistan has risen sharply in the past fortnight. Two weeks ago, 42 per cent of the British public thought the Taliban could be defeated, while 48 per cent thought they could not.
Now, following the deaths of five British soldiers yesterday and President Karzi's much-challenged victory in the recent election, just 33 per cent think the war can be won, while a clear majority, 57 per cent think victory is no longer possible.
As a result, 35 per cent now think all British troops should be withdrawn immediately – compared with 25 per cent two weeks ago.
Only 20 per cent think they should remain in the country "as long as Afghanistan’s government wants them there" – down from 29 per cent two weeks ago.
Women are especially keen to see British troops come home: 40 per cent think they should be withdrawn immediately, while just 13 per cent think they should stay as long as they are needed. Men divide more evenly: 31 per cent want them home immediately; while 28 per cent think they should stay as long as they are needed.
These figures are likely to concern MPs. Public opinion lacks the power to force Parliament to end Britain’s involvement; however, no Government likes to commit troops to an extended conflict, and a rising death toll, with so little public support.
- 73 per cent of people want troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan immediately, or most withdrawn soon with the rest within the next year or so.
- That figure rose to 77 per cent in London.
- Support for troops in Afghanistan was highest in Scotland at 24 per cent.
- People aged over 55 were the least likely to support troops being in Afghanistan, with 77 per cent wanting troops withdrawn immediately or soon.
- Just 21 per cent of people aged 18-54 believed British troops should remain in the country as long as the Afghan government wants them there.