And rising tensions could make Afghanistan a reelection liability by upending what until now has been more or less a pass for Obama. While a majority of Americans have for the past couple of years said the 11-year-old war is not worth the price the country is paying, many Americans have also recently said the president is doing a “good or fair” job of managing the war.
In a TIPP/Monitor poll taken last week, 46 percent of Americans said Obama is doing a “good” job on Afghanistan, a number that hardly changed from February (47 percent) even though the recent poll encompassed the Quran-burning tensions during which a number of US soldiers were attacked and killed by Afghan soldiers.
“The issue of Afghanistan is one of a very few where [Obama] does better than his overall performance rating,” says Raghavan Mayur, president of TIPP, a unit of Technometrica Market Intelligence in Oradell, NJ.
In the most recent TIPP/Monitor poll, for example, Obama earned an over-all approval rating of 44 percent.
Afghanistan shifted to a better-than-the-overall-rating issue for Obama last June, following the successful strike by special operations forces against Osama bin Laden, Mr. Mayur says, and has remained a bright spot for the president since.
But that could change if the cascade of negative events continues.
Despite a call from the Afghan Taliban for retaliatory acts to avenge the killings, Afghans appeared to remain calm Monday. But some Afghan politicians quickly responded by saying the brutal acts put into deeper doubt any long-term arrangement for the US to retain a counterterrorism role in their country.
In the Afghan parliament Monday, representatives demanded a halt to the ongoing negotiations with the US on a strategic partnership agreement, at least until the US soldier responsible is brought to justice.