Do American Muslims Think The Afghan War Is Worth Fighting?

How do American Muslims feel about the war in Afghanistan? Do American Muslims want to see a strong U.S. force in Afghanistan that can decisively defeat the Taliban? Or do American Muslims want U.S. troops out of Afghanistan now?

Eight years after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. has failed to defeat the Taliban (partly because the Bush Administration focused on Iraq, not Afghanistan), and the American public is tiring of the war in Afghanistan. New polls show that most Americans now think the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting, and they don’t want to send more American troops to Afghanistan to finish the job.

After 9/11, the Bush Administration blamed Al Qaeda for the 9/11 attacks, and blamed the Taliban government in Afghanistan for providing a base for Al Qaeda. The U.S. then invaded Afghanistan, overthrew the Taliban government, helped set up and support an elected Afghan government, and continued to fight Taliban forces.

Now, eight years later, there are 60,000 American troops in Afghanistan, but they are spread thin in some regions, and they cannot hold on to territory. The Afghan police and army are developing very slowly. The Obama Administration warns that the Taliban are taking back territory and making a serious comeback.

The Obama Administration is considering sending more American troops to Afghanistan in order to defeat the Taliban and to support the elected Afghan government.

U.S. officials warn that if the Taliban retake Afghanistan, then Al Qaeda would again have a stable base from which to plot attacks against targets inside the U.S. In addition, U.S. officials warn that the Taliban and Al Qaeda would be in a better position to expand their control and influence into other parts of Asia.

Many Afghans, and the Taliban, believe the U.S. will eventually abandon Afghanistan, just as the U.S. abandoned Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal, opening the door to a Taliban takeover in the 1990s.

How do American Muslims feel about the war in Afghanistan? Do American Muslims want to see a strong U.S. force in Afghanistan that can decisively defeat the Taliban? Or do American Muslims want U.S. troops out of Afghanistan now?

American Muslims And Afghanistan

American Muslims are a unique American community when it comes to the issue of Afghanistan. While most Americans supported the American invasion of Afghanistan, most American Muslims believed the invasion was unjustified. In addition, many American Muslims feel a religious connection to the Afghan people, as fellow Muslims.

American Muslims’ Differing Views Regarding The Pre-9/11 Taliban

• Some American Muslims believe that, before 9/11, the Taliban were making a sincere effort to establish an Islamic state based on their conservative understanding of Islamic law. They also believe that the Taliban gave sanctuary to Al Qaeda based on the Taliban’s understanding that Al Qaeda were sincere Muslims.

• Some American Muslims believe that the Taliban were evil oppressors or ignorant Muslims who were misinterpreting Islam to justify a power grab.

American Muslims’ Differing Views Regarding 9/11

• Some American Muslims believe that no Muslims were involved in 9/11, and that the U.S. or Israeli government carried out the 9/11 attacks, in order to justify the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

• Some American Muslims believe that a group of Muslims were involved in 9/11, but the U.S. government knew about the plan ahead of time and permitted 9/11 to happen, in order to justify the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

• Some American Muslims believe that a group of Muslims were involved in 9/11, and the U.S. government had no prior knowledge of the planned attack.

• Some American Muslims believe that 9/11 was an act of self-defense/deterrence by a group of Muslims who were striking back at America for (1) America’s support for oppressive dictatorships in the Muslim world, (2) America’s support for Israel over the Palestinians, and (3) America’s direct military involvement in the Muslim world (e.g. in Iraq during and after the Gulf War) and America’s ongoing military presence in the Muslim world (e.g. in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War).

• Some American Muslims believe that 9/11 was an unjustified crime committed by a group of misguided Muslims.

American Muslims’ Differing Views Of The American Invasion Of Afghanistan In 2001

• Some American Muslims believe the American invasion of Afghanistan was unjustified, because they believe Afghanistan and Muslims had no connection to 9/11. They believe the American invasion of Afghanistan was part of an American plot to dominate the Muslim world.

• Some American Muslims believe the American invasion of Afghanistan was unjustified, because they believe the U.S. should have just attacked territory held by Al Qaeda, rather than overthrowing the Taliban government and trying to restructure the whole country.

• Some American Muslims believe the American invasion of Afghanistan was unjustified, because the U.S. has not succeeded in creating a peaceful, stable Afghanistan even after eight years.

• Some American Muslims believe the American invasion of Afghanistan was justified, because they believe the Taliban were wrong to continue to protect Al Qaeda after 9/11.

• Some American Muslims believe the American invasion of Afghanistan was justified, because they believe that keeping Al Qaeda on the run has prevented Al Qaeda from successfully launching another attack inside the U.S.

• Some American Muslims believe the American invasion of Afghanistan was justified, because they opposed the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic law and policies towards women.

American Muslims’ Differing Views Of The Future Of The American Military Mission In Afghanistan

• Some American Muslims want America to invest heavily in Afghanistan, and to do whatever is necessary to defeat the Taliban and establish a democracy in Afghanistan. They fear that a quick American withdrawal, or an inadequate American military commitment to Afghanistan, will result in a bloody civil war resulting in a Taliban victory and a return to oppressive Taliban rule. They also fear the establishment of a safe haven for Al Qaeda to plot attacks against targets inside America.

• Some American Muslims want American troops out of Afghanistan immediately, because they want to see an end to the Afghan civilian death toll.

• Some American Muslims want American troops out of Afghanistan immediately, because they believe the U.S. cannot win in Afghanistan, and they want the U.S. to cut its losses of American blood and treasure.

• Some American Muslims want American troops out of Afghanistan immediately, because they want to see the re-establishment of a Taliban-style Islamic state in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region.

• Some American Muslims want American troops out of Afghanistan immediately, because they want to see the establishment of a base for Muslims who can protect the Muslim world from outside domination.

• Some American Muslims want American troops out of Afghanistan immediately, because they don’t want non-Muslim troops on any Muslim land.

• Some American Muslims want American troops out of Afghanistan immediately, because they don’t want the U.S. to be at war with Muslims anywhere in the world.

American Muslims’ Lack Of Involvement In The National Debate About Afghanistan

Despite their strong feelings about the above-mentioned issues, most grassroots American Muslims are likely to opt out of the national discussion about America’s role in Afghanistan. Due to a lack of knowledge about the issues, and a resulting lack of confidence, most American Muslims will not call their congressman, write letters to the editor of their local newspaper, or call in to their local talk radio shows to share their views about America’s role in Afghanistan. Therefore, the U.S. government will make its decisions about Afghanistan without the benefit of American Muslim input.

Previous Polling Regarding American Muslim Views On The Afghan War There is a lot of anecdotal evidence available about American Muslim views on the Afghan War. In addition, the following polls have been done about American Muslim views on the Afghan War.

A 2002 Hamilton College/Zogby International poll found that 51% of Muslims in America believed the invasion of Afghanistan was justified.

A 2004 Georgetown University/Zogby International poll found that 35% of American Muslims supported the Afghanistan war.

A 2006 Muslims For A Safe America poll found that 17% of American Muslims believe that America was justified in invading Afghanistan after 9/11.

A 2007 Pew Research Center poll found that 35% of Muslims in America supported the decision to go to war in Afghanistan.

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