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The Realist Prism: Is Afghanistan Really a Major U.S. Ally?

Friday, July 13, 2012

This past week, during an unannounced visit to Kabul, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the Obama administration had designated Afghanistan a “major non-NATO ally.” Though the status does not carry with it any sort of legal expectation that the United States will consider an attack against Afghanistan as an attack on the U.S., it is one of the most significant designations in America’s diplomatic arsenal in terms of upgrading a bilateral relationship outside a formal treaty of alliance.

Most reports indicate that this status was granted to Afghanistan to reassure the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai that the U.S. does not plan to abandon him after transferring responsibility for Afghan security to Afghan forces in 2014. But this is a troubling development, for it reveals the lack of trust Kabul has in Washington’s promises, even after months of Obama administration statements about the depth of America’s post-2014 commitment to Afghanistan. ...

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