U.S. declares Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally

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.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the decision, made by President Barack Obama, during her unannounced visit to Kabul where she met President Hamid Karzai on the eve of a major donors’ conference in Tokyo which will draw pledges for aid.

The status upgrade may help Afghanistan acquire U.S. defense supplies and have greater access to U.S. training as the Afghan army takes more responsibility for the country’s security ahead of the 2014 withdrawal of most NATO combat troops.

“Please know that the United States will be your friend and your partner. We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan. Quite the opposite,” Clinton told a press briefing with Karzai before jetting off to Tokyo.

Obama’s decision meets a pledge he made on a visit to Afghanistan this year to upgrade Kabul to a special security status given to only a limited number of U.S. partners — including close allies like Israel and Japan — which are not members of NATO.

Participants at the Tokyo meeting are expected to commit just under $4 billion annually in development aid for Afghanistan at Sunday’s meeting, though the central bank has said the country needs at least $6 billion a year to foster economic growth over the next decade.

This is on top of the $4.1 billion committed annually by NATO and its partners for Afghanistan’s security forces, pledged at a Chicago summit in May.

U.S. officials with Clinton declined to say how much aid the United States would pledge, which has significantly reduced aid since the peak year of 2010 when more than $6 billion was given, two thirds from Washington.

DONOR FATIGUE, WAR WEARINESS

Now, donor fatigue and war weariness are taking their toll on how long the global community is willing to support Afghanistan, and there are fears that without financial backing, the country could slip back into chaos when foreign troops withdraw.

U.S. officials acknowledged that the trend lines for donating development aid were heading down.

Major donors and aid organizations have warned that weak political will and graft could prevent funds reaching the right people at a critical time, when fragile gains in health and education could be lost if funding does not continue.

Assuaging those fears, Clinton said: “We are well aware of (corruption) but this is an issue that the government and people of Afghanistan want action on.”

For Afghanistan to one day stand on its own two feet, donors hope Sunday’s Tokyo conference will win guarantees from Kabul to tackle graft and ensure accountability.

Transparency International ranks Afghanistan as one of the world’s most corrupt nations and despite Karzai’s recent campaign to tackle graft within government, a high-level corruption case is yet to be prosecuted.

There is also growing fear among ordinary Afghans that the vacuum of cash could lead to greater insecurity.

Comparisons are frequently being drawn to the Soviets’ 1989 humiliating defeat after a decade of fighting mujahideen insurgents. When Moscow stopped giving aid a year after the Soviet Union collapsed, in 1992, civil war engulfed the country.

U.S. officials may be reluctant to cite a specific pledge because the sum actually given is ultimately controlled by Congress, which holds the U.S. government’s purse strings. Enthusiasm for foreign aid has generally waned in Congress because of massive U.S. budget deficits.

Reuters

  • master09

    This is what you call tactics and moves that super powers make to stay superpower.
    What this means if Iran wants to attack Afghan and been a non Nato, still means they will be able to help them in the fight at stage 5……threats.
    The Arabs will take a million years before the brain works as well, why to busy fighting each other…and hating everyone and blaming everyone rather than fix the mess at home…..and living as people..

  • master09

    This is what you call tactics and moves that super powers make to stay superpower.
    What this means if Iran wants to attack Afghan than been a non Nato still means they will be able to help them in the fight at stage 5……threats. The Arabs will take a million years before the brain works as well, why to busy fighting each other…and hating everyone and blaming everyone rather than fix the mess at home…..and living as people..

    • wargame1

      Iranian Al Quds force , Bodor Brigade and Mehdi army are on the ground to assist USA and NATO in Afghanistan. Thats the reason the minority Shia is in power in Afghanistan.USA just handed over Iraq to Iran with that Shia puppet Nuri Al Maliki. Russia did the same thing leaving a shia minority Nazibullah but within a short time Nazibullah was hanging under a barrel of a tank. 

      This tactics work in the short run but it is proved time and again that rule by subversion doesnt work. The Afghans defeated the British 4 times, then Russia was defeated and now America are on the verge of a total defeat. In the past the Afghans defeated the Mongols and Persians too. Thats why Afghanistan is called the Graveyard of Empire. 

      The Arabs will fight back when the corrupt governments are out of office. One is struggling in Syria. Have you heard the battle of Yarmouk where the Arabs with their 40000 solders wiped out the Roman Empire of 250000 solders in SIX day war. Now the same SIX day war was fought by Dog Hefez Assad and Golan Height was handed over to Israel in return of 100 million dollar. Thats the difference between the collaborator Shia with the Arabs. 

      • Moe2000

         Ya Jahish al kbeer… Karzia is Sunni Afghanistans government is Sunni puppet not Shia stop being delusional………… And Iraq is Shia and will  never change they are the majority… That scum Saddam squandered there money on Wahhabi wars with Iran killing one million Shia men on both sides…..  Using Chemical weapons on Iran and his own people….Iraq is a red line it will stay Shia forever they are the majority….. You Wahhabis are already stealing the Shia OIl of Al Qatif and Al Ahsa you stole half of Iraq’s oil now you mad cause you cant squander it on your unjust wars??  Because the majority of Iraq is in power of there country…..

    • wargame1

      Khālid ibn al-Walīd (Arabic: خالد بن الوليد‎; 592–642) also known as Sayf Allāh al-Maslūl (the Drawn Sword of God), was a companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad( Peace be upon him). He is noted for his military tactics and prowess, commanding the forces of Medina under prophet Muhammad and the forces of his immediate successors of the Rashidun Caliphate; Abu Bakr and Umar ibn Khattab.

      It was under his military leadership that Arabia, for the first time in history, was united under a single political entity, the Caliphate. He was victorious in over a hundred battles, against the forces of the Byzantine-Roman Empire, Sassanid-Persian Empire, and their allies, in addition to other Arab tribes. His strategic achievements include the conquest of Arabia, Persian Mesopotamia and Roman Syria within several years from 632 to 636. He is also remembered for his decisive victories at Yamamah, Ullais, and Firaz, and his tactical successes at Walaja and Yarmouk.

      **PS: The resting place of Khaled Ibn Walid is in HOMS , Syria. I think the people of Homs didnt let their ancestors down so far.

      • 73Corty77

        Wargame Serious where do you get your information from. Oh that’s right man mad hadith.

        I’ve said all along. If Basher was a sunni not a Alawite people like you would love him. 
        Your ancestors must be turning in their grave knowing that a Alawite is the President of Syria.