The United States has designated Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally, giving the war-torn country special privileges as the US prepares to pull its troops out in 2014, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.
Clinton announced the move, which provides a long-term framework for security and defence cooperation, during a brief visit to Kabul where she had a breakfast meeting with President Hamid Karzai.
“We see this as a powerful symbol of our commitment to Afghanistan’s future,” Clinton said at a press conference after the talks.
The new status, which comes into effect immediately, makes it easier for a country to purchase and finance its acquisition of US defence equipment, along with other benefits.
“The United States is not abandoning Afghanistan,” Clinton said. This is the first such designation by President Barack Obama’s administration. Other countries with the designation include Pakistan, Israel, Egypt, Japan, Jordan Korea, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.