The U.S. has officially designated Afghanistan as its newest “major non-NATO ally,” which is a huge political statement for the country, showing support for Afghanistan’s long-term stability. The declaration also solidifies close defense cooperation after American troops withdraw by the end of 2014.
The Huffington Post reports that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said at a news conference during a brief stop in the Afghan capital that:
“We see this as a powerful commitment to Afghanistan’s future. We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan.”
Clinton made the statement in the grand courtyard of the presidential palace following talks with President Hamid Karzai.
MSNBC notes that the new status will allow for a more streamlined defense cooperation between the two nations, which also includes expedited purchasing ability of American equipment, as well as easier export control regulations. The military is already largely dependent on American and foreign assistance and enjoys many of these benefits. With the new status, Afghanistan will continue to receive these benefits, even after American combat troops withdraw.
According to Fox News, Clinton announced that progress is coming slowly but consistently in Afghanistan after decades of conflict. She stated that, “The security situation is more stable” and Afghan forces “are improving their capacity.”
President Karzai publicly thanked the U.S. for their continued support during the conference, while Clinton repeated America’s “fight, talk, build” strategy in Afghanistan, which means to defeat extremists, and also win over Taliban militants and others, as long as they renounce violence. The plan also includes a strategy for long-term reconstruction of Afghanistan.
What do you think of Afghanistan’s new status as a “major non-NATO ally” to America?