Clinton Makes Pit Stop in Kabul En Route to Tokyo, Declares Afghanistan New MNNA

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to staff at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan during on an unannounced visit to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai ahead of the Tokyo conference on Afghanistan’s reconstruction.

Additional footage here during her stop at the Kabul International Airport.

During the visit, she also announced the designation of Afghanistan as a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA).  President Obama signed the MNNA designation for Afghanistan on July 6.  Afghanistan is the first country to be designated an MNNA since 2004.

According to the embassy statement “MNNA qualifies a country for certain privileges supporting defense and security cooperation but does not entail any security commitment to that country. Some of the privileges of MNNA status include eligibility for training, loans of equipment for cooperative research and development, and ultimately Foreign Military Financing for commercial leasing of certain defense articles.”

The following Presidential Determinations designated the countries listed as major non-NATO allies of the United States for purposes of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.) and the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.):
Determination No. 97–4, Nov. 12, 1996, 61 F.R. 59809.—Jordan.
Determination No. 98–9, Jan. 6, 1998, 63 F.R. 3635.—Argentina.
Determination No. 2002–10, Mar. 14, 2002, 67 F.R. 13247.—Bahrain.
Determination No. 2004–02, Oct. 6, 2003, 68 F.R. 59855.—Philippines.
Determination No. 2004–16, Dec. 30, 2003, 69 F.R. 2053.—Thailand.
Determination No. 2004–21, Jan. 15, 2004, 69 F.R. 4843.—Kuwait.
Determination No. 2004–35, June 3, 2004, 69 F.R. 34049.—Morocco.
Determination No. 2004–37, June 16, 2004, 69 F.R. 38797.—Pakistan.

Could not find the citations for this but five countries were apparently declared MNNA by President Bush I in 1989: Australia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, and South Korea.  New Zealand was added to the list in 1997 by President Clinton. So Afghanistan is the 15th member of this very small club.

In the meantime, before departing for the donors’ conference in Tokyo, Secretary Clinton told reporters, “We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan.”

Somewhere in the air space between Kabul and Tokyo, Hamid Karzai could not keep his smiles in a single file.

Domani Spero