President Biden indicated on Wednesday that he intends to rescind Afghanistan’s designation as a major non-NATO ally.
“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 (D-Calif.), according to the White House.
The U.S. 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 U.S.
Its status as a major non-NATO ally allowed Afghanistan to receive military assistance and training from the military alliance, which, along with the U.S., withdrew all its troop forces in August 2021 following the swift retaking of the country by the Taliban.
Since then, NATO and the U.S. have suspended all military support to the country but at times continue to lend humanitarian aid.
The chaotic and deadly U.S. troop withdrawal from the country in August left more than 200 Afghans dead and thousands of Afghans who had worked with the U.S. and allied forces stranded.
Thirteen U.S. soldiers died as a result of a suicide bomber who detonated a bomb at the airport in Kabul while thousands were trying to flee the country.
Biden had firmly stuck to an Aug. 31, 2021, deadline to remove all U.S. troops from the country for the first time since the war began 20 years ago despite pleas from lawmakers in both parties to wait until everyone who wanted to get out could.
Over the course of evacuations, U.S. military and coalition aircraft flew out more than 123,000 civilians, including 6,000 Americans.