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President Biden gestures as he gives remarks on the worsening crisis in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House, Aug. 16. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden is getting some unlikely backing for his Afghanistan troop withdrawal from a longtime nemesis: the Koch political network.

Driving the news: Concerned Veterans for America, a foreign policy-focused arm of Charles Koch's Stand Together political and policy apparatus is coming to Biden's defense after the U.S. withdrawal handed control of the country to the Taliban this week.

  • The Koch political network was one of the foremost antagonists of the Obama administration in which Biden served as vice president.

What they're saying: "I think he made the right decision to withdraw," Dan Caldwell, a senior advisor to CVA and foreign policy campaign manager for Stand Together, told Axios in an interview.

  • Caldwell said there should be a thorough review of how the withdrawal was undertaken — and of the larger, two-decade war effort. But "I am frankly uncomfortable to Monday-morning quarterback decisions made around the withdrawal while it's ongoing," he said.
  • He also rebuked some Republicans for their Biden criticism: "It's incredibly disappointing to see people using the chaos in Afghanistan to score political points against their opponents, primarily against Joe Biden who, in many ways, just was following through on the plan set in motion by President Trump."

CVA plans to continue running digital ads supporting the Afghanistan withdrawal.

  • Late last week, the group also launched a $2 million campaign pushing for full U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
  • "We think we've made a lot of progress over the past few years," Caldwell said. "We're going to stay committed to this regardless of short-term changes in the political landscape."

The big picture: Biden has faced bipartisan criticism over his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, making any public support crucial.

  • Some of that support has come from progressive groups such as VoteVets, which released a statement on Monday praising Biden's decision.
  • The Koch political network leans libertarian and noninterventionist, but CVA's backing is nonetheless a cross-ideological chit for the Biden administration as it seeks to minimize political fallout.

What we're watching: White House chief of staff Ron Klain on Monday retweeted Stand Together's vice president of foreign policy, who said Biden's decision demonstrates "real courage."

  • Biden also got some backing from the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a think tank that receives financial support from the Koch network.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Dan Caldwell's correct titles with CVA and Stand Together.

Go deeper

Biden to stress U.S. does not seek new Cold War in UN speech

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden will use his first address before the UN General Assembly to lay out his vision for an era of "intensive diplomacy" with allies and "vigorous competition" with great powers — without a Cold War with China.

Why it matters: Biden will take the podium in New York on Tuesday with his own international credibility in question after the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. His administration also is struggling to build international momentum to fight climate change, the pandemic and rising global authoritarianism.

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42 mins ago - Energy & Environment

China vows end to building coal-fired power plants abroad

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Mary Altaffer - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that his country "will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad" and plans to boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

Why it matters: The pledge, if maintained, would mark a breakthrough in efforts to transition global power away from the most carbon-emitting fuel.

House Democrats strip Iron Dome money from government funding bill

Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democrats on Tuesday stripped $1 billion for Israel's Iron Dome defense system from its short-term government funding bill after backlash from progressives, people familiar with the decision tell Axios.

Why it matters: There has never a situation where military aid for Israel was held up because of objections from members of Congress. While the funding will get a vote in its current defense bill, the clash underscores the deep divisions within the Democratic party over Israel.