KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Obama administration on Saturday declared Afghanistan the United States’ newest “major non-NATO ally,” an action designed to facilitate close defense cooperation after U.S. combat troops withdraw from the country in 2014 and as a political statement of support for Afghanistan’s long-term stability.
“We see this as a powerful commitment to Afghanistan’s future,” she said at a news conference in the grand courtyard of Kabul's Presidential Palace. “We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan.”
Clinton insisted that progress was coming incrementally but consistently to the war-torn nation after decades of conflict. “The security situation is more stable,” she said. Afghan forces “are improving their capacity.”
Clinton repeated the tenets of America’s “fight, talk, build” strategy for Afghanistan. The goal aims first to defeat dangerous extremists, win over Taliban militants and others willing to give up violence and help in the long reconstruction of Afghanistan ahead.
Fighting still rages as Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces battle insurgents in the mostly eastern part of the country. Although casualties have fallen among foreign forces as the United States and other nations begin a gradual withdrawal, 215 coalition soldiers were killed in the first six months of the year — compared to 271 in the same period last year.
Reconciliation efforts haven’t gained steam, but Clinton said she was pleased to be meeting the foreign ministers of Afghanistan and Pakistan together in Tokyo — a three-way relationship seen as key to stabilizing Afghanistan.
From Kabul, Clinton and Karzai were heading separately to Japan for an international conference on Afghan civilian assistance. Donors were expected to pledge around $4 billion a year in long-term civilian support.
Clinton stressed the importance of the pledges for civilian aid. Afghanistan’s cash-strapped government is heavily dependent on foreign largesse, and any significant drop-off in financial assistance after 2014 could set back the country’s development.
Asked about the systemic corruption that has plagued the Afghan government, Clinton said the U.S. was working hard with Afghan authorities to eliminate fraud, mismanagement and abuse. She said the meeting in Tokyo would include accountability measures to ensure that money sent to Afghanistan benefits the Afghan people.
Nations that once gave more generously to Afghanistan are now seeking guarantees that their taxpayer money will not be lost to corruption and mismanagement.
International donors say that many promises to crack down on corruption have not been carried out. Some highly placed Afghan officials have been investigated for corruption but seldom prosecuted, and some of the graft investigations have come close to the president himself.
In Tokyo, representatives from some 70 countries and organizations will establish accountability guidelines to ensure that Afghanistan does more to improve governance and finance management, and to safeguard the democratic process, rule of law and human rights — especially those of women.View Entire Story
By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
First over-the-counter column approved for fast and effective relief from even your worst media-induced headache.
Challenge the political status quo. Realize that you make better decisions than the bureaucrats in D.C.?
A politically conservative and morally liberal Hebrew alpha male hunts left-wing viper
Sometimes life requires a paradigm twist.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall
NRA kicks off annual convention
California wildfires wreak havoc