Sex assault claim against top court pick should be heard: Trump aide

Christine Blasey Ford “should be heard,” Conway said. (AFP)
Updated 17 September 2018
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Sex assault claim against top court pick should be heard: Trump aide

  • “This woman should not be insulted and she should not be ignored,” said Conway
  • Ford told the Post that Kavanaugh “was trying to attack me and remove my clothing” at a teenagers’ party one summer in the early 1980s

WASHINGTON: The woman accusing US President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick of sexual assault should be allowed to testify before a Senate committee, Trump’s top female aide said on Monday.
Kellyanne Conway’s comment came as the lawyer for the accuser, college professor Christine Blasey Ford, said Ford is willing to testify publicly about the decades-old incident which she already described to The Washington Post.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is due to vote on the nomination of conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh on September 20, but in light of Ford’s comments a number of committee members have urged holding off on a vote.
“She should be heard,” Conway said on “Fox and Friends.
“This woman should not be insulted and she should not be ignored,” said Conway, who added that Kavanaugh should also have an opportunity under oath to address Ford’s allegations.
He is “a man of character and integrity” who has been widely lauded by other women, she said.
The testimonies “would be added to the very considerable mountain of evidence and considerations that folks will have when they weigh whether or not to vote for Judge Kavanaugh to be on the Supreme Court.”
But Conway said such testimony “should not unduly delay the vote.”
Asked on CNN whether Ford would be willing to testify publicly before the Judiciary Committee, her lawyer Debra Katz said: “The answer’s yes.”
Lawmakers have not, however, made any such request for her testimony, the lawyer said.
After initially guarding her anonymity, Ford “decided to take control of this and tell this in her own voice” after the allegations were leaked, Katz said.
Ford told the Post that Kavanaugh “was trying to attack me and remove my clothing” at a teenagers’ party one summer in the early 1980s.
Kavanaugh has flatly denied the allegation, saying he did not do this “at any time.”


Taliban under attack in Badghis province

In this file photo, Afghan National Army soldiers carry out an exercise during a live firing at the Afghan Military Academy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghan officials say around 100 soldiers fled their posts and tried to cross into neighboring Turkmenistan during a weeklong battle with the Taliban, in the latest setback for the country's battered security forces. (AP)
Updated 18 March 2019
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Taliban under attack in Badghis province

  • Several government troops fleeing the Taliban rampage crossed into neighboring Turkmenistan
  • In a statement, the ministry had said that 50 Taliban combatants had been killed

KABUL: Afghanistan’s government launched a ground and air offensive on Monday to flush out Taliban insurgents from a key area in the northwestern province of Badghis, which is close to the border with Turkmenistan, officials said.

The focal point of the operation was the Bala Murghab district where, a few days ago, the Taliban had captured dozens of government forces in addition to overrunning several parts of the district, which serves as a gateway to the northern areas for the insurgents.

Several government troops fleeing the Taliban rampage crossed into neighboring Turkmenistan, officials said. 

One provincial official and a lawmaker from the province, who requested anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that Turkmenistan was due to hand over the troops to Afghanistan on Monday.

Sayed Mohmmad Musa, a lawmaker from the province, said that hundreds of government troops have taken part in the operation, which had resulted in the deaths of several of the Taliban’s top commanders.

“Through the operation, the government wants to not only regain the control of the district, but is also trying to free those forces who either had to join the Taliban or were captured by them several days ago,” he said by phone.

“There is heavy fighting there and the government wants to end the Taliban threat because it is a strategic location,” he said.

Meanwhile, spokesmen for the defense and interior ministries did not answer repeated calls for comment about the government’s operation and about the Taliban’s rampage days ago.

In a statement released earlier, the ministry had said that 50 Taliban combatants had been killed.

There were conflicting reports about the number of troops who were captured by the Taliban and those who had fled to Turkmenistan, while the Taliban said 90 soldiers had surrendered.

The development comes amid continuing efforts in recent months by US diplomats and Taliban delegates for finding a peaceful settlement to the war. 

Both the Taliban and government forces, backed by the US military, have stepped up their attacks in a number of areas in the country.

Ahmad Saeedi, an analyst from Badghis, said the remoteness of the province, changes in the leadership of the ministry and confusion among troops about the peace process were some of the factors for the Taliban’s gains in Badghis.

“The time of US and Taliban formally announcing a deal has become closer; this has disheartened some troops in some parts of the country to keep on fighting,” Saeedi told Arab News.

Mirza Mohammed Yarmand, a military analyst and retired general, agreed. He told Arab News: “Unfortunately, the schism and differences among the political leaders of the country have caused disruption and slowness in the conduct of responsibilities of officers in the battlefield.”

He added: “Logistical shortcomings, the amount of attacks conducted by the enemy, (the government’s) failure to transport on time the war casualties from the battle ground and the amount of time officers spend in war zone, are among the reasons for incidents such as Bala Murghab.”

“When there is difference among the leaders that certainly impacts the moral of troops,” he said.