(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many adults in Britain believe foreign soldiers will still be needed in Afghanistan five years from now, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 58 per cent of respondents think the Government of Afghanistan will not be able to run its affairs without the assistance of international troops.

Afghanistan has been the main battleground in the war on terrorism. The conflict began in October 2001, after the Taliban regime refused to hand over Osama bin Laden without evidence of his participation in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Al-Qaeda operatives hijacked and crashed four airplanes on Sept. 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people.

At least 1,668 soldiers—including 272 Britons—have died in the war on terrorism, either in support of the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom or as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Earlier this month, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said Britain’s commitment to Afghanistan should come to an end in 2015, adding, "How long do we give before we come to a judgment? I think it’s a matter of months, a year or so. Not a matter of weeks, nor a matter of years and years. Not before the general election, but it’s a judgment we should come to pretty quickly after the general election."

In June 2007, Gordon Brown officially became Labour leader and prime minister, replacing Tony Blair. Brown had worked as chancellor of the exchequer. Blair served as Britain’s prime minister since May 1997, winning majority mandates in the 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections to the House of Commons.

The next election to the House of Commons must be held on or before Jun. 3. Sitting prime ministers can dissolve Parliament and call an early ballot at their discretion. It is widely believed that the election will take place on May 6.

Polling Data

Five years from now, do you think the Government of Afghanistan will be able to run its affairs without the assistance of international troops?





Not sure


Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 2,003 British adults, conducted on Mar. 9 and Mar. 10, 2010. Margin of error is 2.2 per cent.

Complete Poll (PDF)