|July 7, 2012
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, has declared Afghanistan a "major non-Nato ally" of the US in a strong show of support before a conference that aims to raise billions of dollars of aid for the war-ravaged country.
The announcement by Clinton during a brief visit to Kabul means Afghanistan will join a small, rather disparate group of 14 countries, including Israel, Japan, the Philippines, Bahrain and Pakistan, which hold the privileged status. This status allows for streamlined military co-operation with the US, with access to weapons and training among other advantages.
The extent of US military spending in Afghanistan already put it effectively on a par with some other "major non-Nato allies", but with US troops expected to be mostly home by the end of 2014, Clinton described the formal label as a sign of long-term commitment. It is the first country awarded the status by Barack Obama's administration.
"We see this as a powerful commitment to Afghanistan's future," she told a joint news conference, after a breakfast meeting with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. "We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan."Read More...