Pompeo Says Welfare of Afghan Women a Priority in Peace Talks, Silent on Legality of War Against Iran

US Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire who is the only woman on the US Senate Foreign Relations committee, pressed US Sectretary of State Mike Pompeo on whether the U.S. would insist that Afghan women be given a significant role in ongoing peace talks with the Taliban.

Pompeo didn’t commit to such action, but he stressed that the welfare of Afghan women was a priority, especially given the Taliban’s brutal treatment of women when they ran Afghanistan.

To this, Sen. Shaheen said “This is half the population of the country”.

“I hope they will make their voices heard,” Pompeo replied.

 In the same hearing, Sen. Rand Paul warned the Trump administration not to go to war with Iran, at least not without getting permission from Congress.

The libertarian-leaning Kentucky Republican spoke directly to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He asked Pompeo if the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which allowed for U.S. troops to fight entities responsible for the 9/11 attacks and associated forces, included Iran.

Pompeo declined to directly answer the question, saying he’d defer to lawyers, but stated that there is “no doubt there’s a connection” between the Iranian government and al-Qaeda, the terrorist group behind the 2001 attacks.

“You do not have the permission of Congress to go to war with Iran,” Paul responded, while chiding Pompeo for trying to deflect the question. “Only Congress can declare war.”

Pompeo was testifying before the Republican-controlled committee, a session that came the same week President Donald Trump designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, prompting concerns about future clashes between the U.S. and Iranian-backed forces.

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