“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 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
The measure comes after Afghanistan has been back under the control of the Taliban for nearly 11 months since the Biden administration completed its withdrawal last August. The American-backed regime collapsed within two weeks as the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital of Kabul after nearly two decades of military and economic support. Thousands of Americans and billions of dollars worth of military equipment were left.
Afghanistan was first designated a MNNA in 2012 under the Obama administration, with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announcing the change.
According to the State Department, “The Major Non-NATO Ally designation is a powerful symbol of the close relationship the United States shares with those countries and demonstrates our deep respect for the friendship for the countries to which it is extended. While MNNA status provides military and economic privileges, it does not entail any security commitments to the designated country.”
Those “military and economic privileges” include expedited sales of U.S. military equipment, eligibility for loans of supplies and material, support for the training of personnel, and allowing firms within the nation to bid on Department of Defense contracts.
With Afghanistan’s removal from the list, the remaining MNNA’s include Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, South Korea, Thailand, and Tunisia. Taiwan is treated as a MNNA despite not being officially recognized as such.
The Biden administration has sent hundreds of millions of dollars to Afghanistan since the nation fell under the control of the Taliban.