Biden to rescind Afghanistan’s status as non-NATO ally

US President Biden and other world leaders pose for a group photo in the NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain on June 30. Photo: US President’s Office.

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he intends to rescind Afghanistan’s designation as a major non-NATO ally, media reports say.

“In accordance with section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (22 U.S.C. 2321k), I am providing notice of my intent to rescind the designation of Afghanistan as a Major Non-NATO Ally,” Biden wrote in a letter to Congress, addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the White House said, published by CNN.

The US designated Afghanistan as a major non-NATO ally in 2012, more than 10 years after NATO forces first deployed to the country following the Sept. 11 attacks on the US.

Through its status as a major non-NATO ally, Afghanistan received military assistance and training from the alliance until it left its troops along with US forces in August 2021.

Following the withdrawal of US and coalition forces from Afghanistan, NATO and the United States have suspended all military support to the country but at times have provided some humanitarian aid.

According to the State Department, if Afghanistan’s status is rescinded, the US will have 18 major non-NATO allies, including Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, South Korea, Thailand and Tunisia.

US media reports say that the chaotic US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in August left more than 200 Afghans dead and thousands of Afghans who had worked with the US and allied forces stranded.

A deadly bombing happened on August 26, 2021, outside the Kabul airport amongst a big ground as well as near US and coalition forces who were busy in the evacuation process. Thirteen US soldiers were killed in the attack.

The US and coalition forces left Afghanistan after 20 years of engagement, a withdrawal that ended with the Taliban takeover of the country and the collapse of a republic government that had close support from the international community.

Figures by US media show that American military and coalition aircraft flew out more than 123,000 civilians, including 6,000 Americans, during the evacuation process that ended two weeks after the fall of Kabul on August 15.