72 Percent of Americans Believe Afghan Allies Should Be Given Refugee Status, Poll Says

A substantial majority of Americans believe Afghan citizens who previously worked for the U.S. or Afghanistan governments should be granted refugee status to escape the threat of Taliban rule, according to a new poll.

The survey, which was conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that 72 percent of Americans favor giving Afghan allies the opportunity to resettle in the U.S. if they pass security checks. Overall, just 9 percent of Americans say they are opposed to such measures.

Forty-two percent of Americans said other Afghans who may fear the Taliban but did not offer direct support to the U.S. government should also be resettled as a duty of the U.S. after its nearly 20-year war, according to the AP.

Among those respondents, more Democrats than Republicans support refugee status for others who fear living in the Taliban-ruled country, 57 percent to 27 percent, respectively. Twenty percent of Democrats are opposed, while 23 percent are neither in favor nor opposed. Among Republicans, 38 percent are opposed and 35 percent hold neither opinion.

"We owe it to them," Andrew Davis, a 62-year-old Republican and Army veteran in Galloway, Ohio, told the AP. "It'd be dangerous for them to stay there, I think, if they helped us."

The poll collected responses from 1,099 adults and was conducted from September 23 to 27 using a nationally representative sample. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

Afghanistan Refugees
Most Americans believe Afghans who worked for the U.S. or Afghanistan government should be granted refugee status. Above, U.S. military police walk past Afghan refugees at Wisconsin's Fort McCoy Army base on September 30. BARBARA DAVIDSON/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

The latest survey comes in the aftermath of America's ending its longest war, and amid a U.S.-embraced "moral obligation" to support thousands of Afghans who remain fearful of the Taliban's strict Islamic leadership. Last month, President Joe Biden's administration requested congressional funding to begin resettlement of Afghan refugees, with the goal of resettling 65,000 people in just a few weeks. By this time next year, the U.S. aims to settle as many as 95,000 refugees.

Resettlement efforts have largely gained bipartisan support across the nation, with just four states—Hawaii, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming, as well as the District of Columbia—opposed to the administration's efforts.

"I don't think there's any more unified issue that the American public has had since 9/11," Matt Zeller, an Afghanistan war veteran and founder of the veterans group No One Left Behind, told the AP. Zeller's group is part of a civil society effort encompassing veterans, Democratic and Republican lawmakers and bipartisan voters to help get more at-risk Afghans out of the Taliban-controlled country.

Patrick Raglow, a Catholic Charities executive director in Oklahoma City, similarly said he is preparing to help at least 1,800 Afghan refugees in the state and has received an outpouring of support from community members to help those efforts.

"I see this very much as a continuation of the mission of those brave 13 Americans who gave their lives, protecting and sheltering and bringing to safety these very people," Raglow told the AP. He was referring to the U.S. service members who died when a suicide bomber on August 26 targeted those trying to evacuate the country from Kabul's airport. "It is a way to continue that mission."