The evolution of attitudes in the US

Soon, the initial support for the war in Afghanistan in the US began to decline too, and this helped to close somewhat the gap between public opinion in the US and worldwide, Europe in particular. This was certainly partly due to the lack of success in 'restoring order'. The shaky peace that had been established in Afghanistan in 2002-2003 did not last, and the civil war flared up again. It soon became evident that things were not going according to the initial optimistic expectations. Osama Bin Laden was not captured and attacks by the Taliban and other opponents of the new regime continued. The counteractions taken by the UN sponsored and NATO organized ISAF did not meet with much success. Indeed, while successes in terms of stabilization and restoration of security for the population were evident in some areas, the situation remained unstable or even worsened in other parts.

Thus, it was no surprise that support for the mission declined in the US in a fairly monotonous pattern that could soon be observed (Figure 5.9). Unlike in the case of Iraq, for a long time majorities in the US continued to support the mission, although Americans were equally skeptical on the progress of the war as they were with respect to Iraq.

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