Washington (CNN) - Half of the American public says the U.S. should speed up the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, according to a new poll.
A Gallup national survey, released Thursday, also indicates that 24% say the U.S. should stick to the current timetable to pull all troops out by the end of 2014, and 21% say the U.S. should keep a military presence in the war torn country as long as it takes to accomplish its goals.
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The Gallup poll was conducted on Tuesday, following Sunday's killing of 16 civilians in Afghanistan, allegedly during a shooting rampage by a U.S. serviceman. The survey also comes after recent incidents of the burning of Qurans and the urinating on the corpses of Taliban soldiers by some U.S. service members.
A majority of Democrats (53%) and independent voters (54%) questioned in the survey said the U.S. should speed up the troop withdrawal. Republicans were divided, with 40% calling for speeding up the withdrawal and 38% saying troops should stay until the goals of the mission are accomplished.
But nearly six in ten say they still believed sending U.S. forces into Afghanistan in the first place was the right thing to do. That number has held steady in Gallup polling over the past couple of years.
The Gallup poll was conducted March 13, with 1,006 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4% points.