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Americans divided on sending more troops to Afghanistan

world Updated: Oct 09, 2009 11:43 IST

As the debate intensifies over the next steps for the US in the Afghan war, a poll on Friday said that Americans are about evenly divided over whether the US should increase its troop presence there.

The poll conducted by USA Today Gallup suggested that while 48 per cent say they would favour a decision by President Barack Obama to send more troops, 45 per cent said they would oppose it.

Two weeks ago, the public leaned against a troop increase, the Gallup said.

The poll indicates that the majority of Americans support a US military presence in Afghanistan in general.

In addition to the 48 per cent who favour an increase in the number of US troops there, another five per cent oppose it but believe the US should maintain its current troop level.

Thirty-eight per cent of Americans - including half of Democrats - think the United States should begin to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Republicans solidly back a troop increase, with 7 in 10 in favour, the polls revealed.

The poll finds 80 per cent of Americans saying that weakening terrorists' ability to stage attacks against the US is an important reason to keep US troops stationed there. Fewer (69 per cent) believe keeping the Taliban from taking control of Afghanistan is an important reason to have US troops in that country.