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Biden says Afghanistan effort was never meant to be ‘nation-building’

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By Jenny Goldsberry

After a week of reports that the Taliban is overtaking Afghanistan after U.S. troops evacuated, President Biden stands by the withdrawal, saying the effort was never meant to be “nation-building.”

Biden addressed the nation about the Taliban overtaking Afghanistan Monday. Most Americans, 69.3% disapprove of his handling of Afghanistan military operations according to this weekend’s poll from the Trafalgar Group.

“My national security team and I have been closely monitoring the situation on the ground in Afghanistan,” Biden said, calling it a “rapid collapse.” But, he doubled down saying the mission from the beginning was “never supposed to be nation-building,” or “unifying.” Instead, he said it was about “preventing another terrorist attack on American homeland.”

“There was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” Biden said. “The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we anticipated.”

Yet to Biden, the developments of the past week confirmed to him that it was the right decision to withdraw. “Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” he said. Despite training and equipping the force, the 300,000 strong military collapsed. According to him, it was a force “larger in size than many of our NATO allies.” Then, the U.S. provided Afghanistan with an air force, something the Taliban does not have. Still the U.S. will continue to provide close air support.

“We could not provide them a will to fight for that future,” Biden said. “It is wrong to order military troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own forces would not.” In the meanwhile, Biden claimed our troops were “bearing the brunt of the fighting for them.”

Now, there are 6,000 soldiers assisting withdrawal and escape for Americans and at-risk Afghans. They have taken over air traffic control, transferring diplomats to the airport as well.

Biden did not take questions following the press conference.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Columbia alumni are also anti-Israel, threaten to withhold $77 million in donations

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2,000 people claiming to be Columbia University alumni have signed a letter pledging to “withhold all financial, programmatic, and academic support” from the institution until it meets the demands of anti-Israel protesters. The result is $77 million in donations is at risk.

National Review reports that the letter, addressed to Columbia president Minouche Shafik and the school’s trustees, expresses support for the protesters who oppose the university’s “continued collaboration with the Israeli government’s ongoing genocidal violence against Palestinians.”

“The movement for Palestinian liberation, on campus and globally, is often led by Jewish people of many nations,” the letter says. “Weaponizing claims about antisemitism to silence student speech is based on faulty logic, harms Jewish students, and distracts from true antisemitism, including the attempts by a craven American right to tokenize, exploit, and appropriate Jewish trauma and resilience.”

There does not appear to be a process to verify that people who sign the letters are, in fact, Columbia alumni. It allows people to sign anonymously.

The letter condemns the “administration’s brutal repression of student speech and assembly,” specifically president Shafik’s decision to call in the New York Police Department Strategic Response Group on protesters. Hundreds of anti-Israel protesters were arrested at Columbia and at the City College of New York on April 30, including some who barricaded themselves inside a campus admissions building.

Signatories of the letter are pledging to withhold donations until the university meets 13 demands, including: that it divests from companies that “fund or profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide, and occupation of Palestine”; calls for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war; removes Shafik as president; bans the NYPD from campus; and drops charges against student activists, reverses disciplinary measures against them, and finances the healthcare for students who were “brutalized” by the police.

The website where the letter is shared claims that the signatories have previously provided over $67 million in financial contributions to Columbia, and that over $77 million in donations are now at risk.

The letter also claims that the university “failed to hold accountable the former Israeli soldiers who carried out a chemical attack on protesting students in January 2024.” That seems to be a reference to an incident involving anti-Israel protesters who told the student-run Columbia Spectator that during a demonstration earlier this year they were sprayed with “skunk,” a chemical developed by the Israeli Defense Forces.

While this letter is from supporters of the anti-Israel protesters, Columbia has also received pushback from opponents who say the school is allowing protesters to break the law, disrupt the educational environment, and harass Jewish students, adds National Review.

On Monday, 13 federal judges sent a letter to Columbia leaders saying they will no longer hire the school’s students as clerks due to their behavior and the school’s mismanagement of anti-Israel protests, writing that “Columbia has disqualified itself from educating the future leaders of our country.”

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a Columbia alumnus, said in April that he would withhold donations from the university due to the anti-Israel protests.

“I am deeply saddened at the virulent hate that continues to grow on campus and throughout our country,” Kraft said in a statement. “I am no longer confident that Columbia can protect its students and staff and I am not comfortable supporting the university until corrective action is taken.”

 

 

 

 

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