Afghanistan Declared Major US Non-NATO Ally

President Obama designated Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally of the United States, a move meant to reinforce the bilateral defense relationship, according to the State Department. “We see this as a powerful symbol of our commitment to Afghanistan’s future,” said State Secretary Hillary Clinton on July 7 in remarks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul. She added, “It will open the door to Afghanistan’s military to have a greater capacity and a broader kind of relationship with the United States, and particularly the United States military.” Obama made the designation on July 6, two days after the US-Afghan Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement, signed in May, entered force. Afghanistan is the first country that the United States has designated an MNNA since 2004 when it extended this status to Kuwait, Morocco, and Pakistan. Some of the privileges of MNNA status include eligibility for training, loans of equipment for cooperative research and development, and foreign military financing for commercial leasing of certain defense articles, according to a State Department fact sheet. “They’re able to have access to excess defense supplies, for example,” noted Clinton. (Clinton-Karzai transcript)