Americans want troops to stay in Afghanistan for evacuations

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Soldiers and Marines assist with security at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint.

A vast majority of Americans approve of keeping US troops in Afghanistan until all Americans and Afghan allies have been evacuated from the nation now under Taliban control, according to a new poll.

Roughly 84% of Americans believe US troops should stay in Afghanistan until all Americans are able to evacuate the country, per an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday, and about 71% believe the troops should remain until all Afghan allies are evacuated. 

The US has evacuated approximately 116,700 people since Aug. 14, including 1,200 within 24 hours ending Monday morning. 5,500 American citizens have been evacuated so far and Biden administration officials believe around 300 remain in the country. 

Despite the Aug. 31 troop withdrawal deadline being days away, last week Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there is “no deadline” to help evacuate American citizens from Afghanistan.

The poll, which saw overwhelming support from Republicans (87%), Democrats (86%), and Independents (86%) to keep US troops in the country until all Americans are out, was conducted after the suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport that killed at least 13 US soldiers and 169 Afghans. 

Soldiers and Marines assist with security at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint.
The US has evacuated approximately 116,700 people since August 14.
Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/US Marine Corps via AP
A Taliban fighter stands guard as Talibans acting Higher Education Minister Abdul Baqi Haqqani (not pictured) addresses a gathering during a consultative meeting on Taliban's general higher education policies at the Loya Jirga Hall in Kabul.
President Joe Biden has seen backlash from Republicans and Democrats for his administration’s handling of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images

In the wake of the attack, President Joe Biden has remained firm in meeting the withdrawal deadline. The Taliban has said they will consider that date a “red line,” and the withdrawal going past the end of August would provoke “consequences.”

Biden has seen bipartisan backlash for his administration’s handling of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, as well as the troop withdrawal. Sunday’s poll found that only 38% of Americans approve of his handling of the crisis in the war-torn country, 17 points less than the amount who approved of his handling in a similar poll conducted in July. 

The poll, conducted from Aug. 27-28, questioned a random sample of 513 adults and carries a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points. 

Troops during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
84% of Americans believe US troops should stay in Afghanistan until all Americans are able to evacuate the country.
Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/US Marine Corps via AP
Soldiers check evacuees during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
71% of Americans believe the troops should remain until all Afghan allies are evacuated.
Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/US Marine Corps via AP

As the US continues to get out as many Americans and Afghan allies as they can until Tuesday, the Pentagon believes another terrorist attack in Kabul is imminent.

Biden warned Saturday afternoon a new attack “is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours.”

“There are more threat streams that we are working actively to try to disrupt and prevent,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday.

Taliban fighters stand guard near a damaged car after multiple rockets were fired in Kabul.
As the US continues evacuations, the Pentagon believes another terrorist attack in Kabul is imminent.
Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

“And as the president has said, another attack could occur at any time. He has directed his commanders on the ground to take every force protection measure possible to ensure the safety of our troops as they complete their mission.”

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