United States accords Afghanistan a ‘Major Non-NATO Ally’ status; International donors pledges $16 billion aid for Afghanistan over the next four years at major donors’ conference in Tokyo; Five NATO soldiers wounded by man wearing Afghan army uniform
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  • In a significant development, according to reports, in a surprise visit ahead of a key conference in Tokyo, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Afghanistan on July 7, 2012. "We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan," Clinton said in a press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. To that point, the U.S. State Department announced on July 7, 2012 that President Barack Obama had signed a determination designating Afghanistan a "major non-NATO ally," a status accorded to a limited number of countries such as Israel, Egypt, Australia and Pakistan. The designation allows Afghanistan certain benefits, making it eligible to participate in a broader range of U.S. military training programs and giving it priority for receiving surplus U.S. military hardware.1

    Meanwhile, according to reports, international donors, on July 8, 2012 in Tokyo, pledged $16 billion aid for Afghanistan over the next four years when most foreign troops will leave the war torn nation. Meanwhile, Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged the international community not to abandon his country. “I request Afghanistan’s friends and partners to reassure the Afghan people that you will be with us,” Karzai said in his opening statement. The major donors’ conference in Tokyo, attended by about 70 countries and organizations, was aimed at setting aid levels for the crucial period through and beyond 2014, when most NATO-led foreign combat troops will leave and the war-torn country will assume responsibility for most of its own security. It would be worth noting that Afghanistan has received nearly $60 billion in civilian aid since 2002. According to the World Bank, foreign aid makes up nearly the equivalent of the country’s gross domestic product. Meanwhile, $ 16 billion aid pledged during Tokyo Summit is expected to provide stability and better development for the war torn country. 2

    In other developments, according to reports, an individual wearing Afghan army uniform shot and wounded five NATO soldiers at a base in Wardak province, east of Kabul on July 03, 2012. The five, believed to be American, are receiving medical treatment. The extent of their injuries is not known. It is the latest in a series of so-called "green-on-blue" attacks, where Afghans in the police or army attack international forces. More than 20 foreign personnel have been killed in rogue shootings in Afghanistan this year. 3