President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced his intention to rescind Afghanistan’s major non-NATO ally status, 10 months after the U.S. withdrew from the country.
Biden gave notice of his decision in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“I am providing notice of my intent to rescind the designation of Afghanistan as a Major Non-NATO Ally,” the president wrote, saying the notice was in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.
Countries given major non-NATO ally status are eligible for military and financial benefits, including loans and funding for counterterrorism research, and can also serve as a location for U.S.-owned war reserve stockpiles, according to the State Department. However, the designation does not include security commitments.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced during a visit to Kabul in 2012 that Afghanistan would be given the status. It was the first country to be awarded the designation during then-President Barack Obama’s administration, according to The Guardian.
This is a “powerful symbol of our commitment to Afghanistan’s future,” Clinton said at the time, according to the BBC.
“We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan,” Clinton added.
On Aug. 15, 2021, the Taliban took Kabul, effectively gaining back control of the entire country. The U.S. withdrew the last of its military out of Afghanistan later that month, putting an end to a 20-year war.
Since then, the Taliban has turned back the clock on women’s rights, including issuing an order for all Afghan women to be covered from head to toe in public, according to The Associated Press.
The countries that have the major non-NATO ally designation now include: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, South Korea, Thailand and Tunisia.