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Report finds ‘hundreds’ more Americans tried to leave Afghanistan than Biden admin claimed

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Afghanistan Evac Flight

An investigation has found that more than 800 Americans have fled Afghanistan in the previous year since the horribly botched U.S. military withdrawal. The number is significantly more than the Biden administration had primarily claimed, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reports on the investigation:

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Aug. 30 2021, just as the last U.S. aircraft departed the Kabul airport, that the State Department had identified roughly 100 Americans living in Afghanistan who wished to leave. However, a GOP House Foreign Affairs Committee report to be released Monday shows that out of an unknown number of civilians left stranded in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover, the U.S. helped hundreds leave, Politico reported, suggesting the Biden administration either underestimated those who would attempt to evacuate or deliberately obscured the actual numbers.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Monday that the U.S. government had “directly supported” the evacuation of 803 U.S. citizens since August of 2021, adding that “individuals in Afghanistan periodically identified themselves as U.S. citizens wanting to depart the country.”

“Whether they had travel documents or whether they could get to Kabul, that was part of that factor,” a committee aide told Politico, referring to the Americans left behind to face increasing danger of directed Taliban violence

Speaking to CBS News on Sunday, Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas said the State Department had not complied with the House committee’s investigation. While the White House communicated with the committee about ongoing evacuation efforts, the State Department and the Pentagon have resisted information requests, Politico reported.

“The problem was the White House and State Department put their head in the sand, not wanting to believe what they [the Intelligence Community and the Pentagon] were saying, and therefore not adequately planning,” said McCaul.

In February, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee GOP published a report claiming the U.S. had evacuated 479 Americans out of a total of between 10,000 and 15,000 Americans who were living in Afghanistan as of Aug. 17, 2021.

At least 363 U.S. citizens were communicating with the State Department in October, 176 of whom were attempting to secure a flight out of Afghanistan, CNN reported. Between Aug. 1 and when CNN reported, more than 200 Americans had already been evacuated.

“We did extensive contingency planning throughout the spring and summer of 2021 and pre-positioned troops in the region, which enabled us to facilitate the evacuation of more than 120,000 people,” including those Americans who wished to leave, National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a memo Monday.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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education

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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