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Associated Press

Poll: Most Say Afghanistan War Not Worth Fighting

Will Lester

Soldiers of the U.S. Army's 3rd Combat Brigade 10th Mountain Division, based out of Fort Drum, N.Y., evacuate a wounded comrade in Afghanistan's Wardak Province on Wednesday. (David Goldman / AP)

WASHINGTON — A majority of Americans say the war in Afghanistan is
not worth fighting, according to a poll released on the eve of that
nation's elections.

An ABC News-Washington Post poll found 51
percent who said the war was not worth fighting, while 47 percent said
it was worth it.

Only a quarter in the poll favored sending more
U.S. troops to Afghanistan while almost twice as many would like to see
the number of troops decreased. At the beginning of this year, people
were slightly more inclined to say the number of troops should be
increased than decreased.

Three years ago the U.S. had about 20,000 troops in Afghanistan. There are expected to be about 68,000 by year's end.

a 2-1 margin, the poll found that people doubted Thursday's election in
Afghanistan will produce an effective government. The voting to choose
a new president comes at a time when the nation is struggling with an
armed insurgency, drugs, corruption and a weak government.

public is more supportive of President Barack Obama's handling of the
Afghanistan war than of the war itself, with six in 10 in the ABC-Post
poll saying they approve. Those findings are similar to those of an
AP-GfK poll last month that found 55 percent approved of Obama's
handling of the war in Afghanistan.

The AP poll in mid-July found
that 44 percent favored the Afghanistan war and 53 percent were
opposed. People were opposed to the Iraq war by a 2-1 margin in the AP

U.S. officials say the Afghan elections can be an important
step toward achieving the key goal of preventing that country from
again sheltering al-Qaida.

About six in 10 in the ABC-Post poll
said they are confident in the ability of the U.S. and its allies to
defeat the Taliban and provide effective economic development.

in the poll were divided on the question of whether the U.S. is winning
the war in Afghanistan, with 42 percent saying the U.S. is winning and
36 percent saying the U.S. is losing. The rest said neither side is
winning, or were undecided.

The ABC-Post poll of 1,001 people was
taken Aug. 13-17 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus
3.5 percentage points.

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