Britons doubtful of Afghan victory

LONDON: The public is losing confidence that the war against insurgents in Afghanistan can be won, according to a new poll published on Saturday.

The YouGov survey for Channel 4 News found 48 percent of respondents thought troops were not winning the war with the Taliban and victory "is not possible" -- a surge from 36 percent in August 2007.

A further 36 percent thought troops were not winning yet but victory was possible eventually, down three points since 2007.

The war in Afghanistan, which began in 2001 following the September 11 attacks in the United States, has grown increasingly deadly in recent months. A total of 222 personnel have now died in operations there.

The poll found that 62 percent wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan within a year, three points down on 2007 but within the margin of error.

However, the number saying troops should stay as long as Afghanistan's government wants them there has risen from 25 to 29 percent.

Demonstrators were expected to march through London on Saturday in protest against the war and to call for troops to be brought home.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced plans earlier this month to send an extra 500 troops on top of the 9,000 already deployed in Afghanistan.

YouGov interviewed 2,042 adults on Thursday and Friday.