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Afghans crowd at the airport as U.S. soldiers stand guard in Kabul on Aug. 16. Photo: Shakib Rahmani/AFP via Getty Images

62% of Americans do not believe the war in Afghanistan was worth fighting, according to an AP-NORC poll conducted Aug. 12–16, as the Afghan government verged on collapse following the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Why it matters: Biden has faced intense criticism over the scenes of chaos in Kabul, where a Taliban takeover has prompted a mass evacuation of Americans and Afghans who assisted the U.S. war effort.

  • The U.S. spent 20 years and billions of dollars supporting the Afghan government and training its security forces.
  • Yet the Afghan military ultimately melted away under pressure from the Taliban, which essentially retook the entirety of the country in 11 days.

The big picture: The poll, conducted Aug. 12–16, found that 47% of people approve of Biden's handling of foreign policy, only a slight change from a June AP-NORC poll that showed a rating of 50%. The new rating includes 76% of Democrats, 41% of independents, and 15% of Republicans.

  • Amid fears of the resurgence of al-Qaeda now that the Taliban controls Afghanistan, 50% of Americans polled said they were concerned about extremist groups outside the U.S.
  • Meanwhile, 65% of respondents said they were concerned about extremist groups based in the U.S.
  • Like the war in Afghanistan, 63% of Americans do not believe the Iraq War was worth fighting.

The bottom line: Protecting the U.S. against outside terrorist threats was one of the original justifications for the invasion of Afghanistan.

Go deeper: Biden denies Afghanistan will look the same 20 years after 9/11

Poll methodology: The nationwide poll was conducted Aug. 12–16. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cellphones were conducted with 1,729 adults. The margin of sampling error is ± 3.2 percentage points.

Go deeper

Oct 13, 2021 - World

Afghan interpreter who helped rescue Biden in 2008 safely leaves Afghanistan

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the White House residence. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

An Afghan interpreter who helped rescue President Biden in Afghanistan in 2008 when he was a senator has safely left the country with his wife and five children, the State Department confirmed to Axios on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Aman Khalili, who was instrumental to the mission that rescued Biden's helicopter when it was caught in a snowstorm according to U.S. veterans, was forced into hiding after the Taliban took over Kabul.

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID-19 complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

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