US: Afghanistan Now Major Non-NATO Ally

Posted July 7th, 2012 at 3:35 am (UTC-5)
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Washington has declared Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally of the United States, providing the war-ravaged country with a long-term framework for security and defense cooperation with the U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the new status Saturday in Kabul where she held talks with President Hamid Karzai.

She said after meeting with Mr. Karzai that Afghanistan “can no longer be a safe haven” for al-Qaida and international terrorists that threaten the United States, the region and the world.

Clinton said the new status is a “powerful symbol” of Washington's commitment to Afghanistan's future, adding that the U.S. will not abandon Afghanistan. Among other countries the U.S. has declared major non-NATO allies are Egypt, Israel, Japan and Pakistan.

From Kabul, Clinton heads to Japan for an international conference on Afghan civilian assistance. Donors are expected to pledge $4 billion a year in long-term civilian support.

She made the previously unannounced stop in Kabul Saturday after leaving Paris where she attended a multi-nation conference on Syria.