U.S. Names Afghanistan Major Non-NATO Ally

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by Zebra, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    Updated July 7, 2012, 2:46 a.m. ET
    By NATHAN HODGE

    KABUL— U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Afghanistan Saturday on a surprise visit ahead of a key conference in Tokyo that is expected to secure long-term international assistance for the war-torn country.

    International donors and Afghan officials will meet Sunday in Tokyo to commit to billions of dollars in assistance to Afghanistan for a decade beyond the planned withdrawal of most U.S. and international troops in 2014.

    "We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan," Mrs. Clinton said in a press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. "Quite the opposite: We are building a partnership with Afghanistan that will endure far into the future."

    To that point, the U.S. State Department announced Saturday that President Barack Obama had signed a determination designating Afghanistan a "major non-NATO ally," a status accorded to a limited number of countries such as Israel, Egypt, Australian and Pakistan.

    The designation allows Afghanistan certain benefits, making it eligible to participate in a broader range of U.S. military training programs and giving it priority for receiving surplus U.S. military hardware. That status follows the conclusion of a strategic partnership agreement signed by Messrs. Obama and Karzai in Kabul on May 2.

    At the Tokyo conference, donors are expected to deliver pledges of funding for Afghanistan but will also push for stricter safeguards to ensure that aid money isn't squandered, misused or stolen. Mrs. Clinton referred specifically to international concerns about alleged mismanagement at the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, a U.N.-administered fund that pays the salaries for Afghanistan's police force.

    Those allegations became public in May, when The Wall Street Journal reported whistleblower concerns about possible abuses at the fund.

    "We are working with the United Nations to support the steps that they have said they would take to address the concerns raised by donors about allegations of mismanagement of the Law and Order Trust Fund," Mrs. Clinton said.

    Mrs. Clinton also delivered a pep talk to U.S. diplomatic personnel. In a meeting with U.S. embassy staff in Kabul, Mrs. Clinton pushed back against recent media reports about botched efforts to send civilian experts in development and governance to complement a military troop surge.

    Afghanistan is considered a hardship tour for U.S. diplomats, and Mrs. Clinton took a swipe at "naysayers and cynics who are quick to criticize what we do here."

    Recent news stories, including a series in the Washington Post, focused on diplomats and civil servants who were often ill prepared to work in a war zone, and bureaucratic infighting that hobbled military and reconstruction efforts.

    Noting that the embassy in Kabul has twice come under attack the past year, Mrs. Clinton said "none of us have any illusions about how hard the road ahead will be."

    Clinton Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan - WSJ.com
     
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  3. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    U.S. gives ally Afghanistan special security status.....

    By Arshad Mohammed
    KABUL | Sat Jul 7, 2012 11:43am IST

    (Reuters) - Washington declared Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally on Saturday, a largely symbolic status reinforcing its message to Afghans that they will not be abandoned as the war winds down.


    U.S. gives ally Afghanistan special security status | Reuters
     
  4. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Biggest blow this to Pak looking to make Astan it's playground or vassal even after the US leaves. GHQ will be all sweaty.
     

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