1. PARTNER

    Afghanistan Made Special Ally

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, not pictured, at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, July 7, 2012. Clinton announced that President Barack Obama had designated Afghanistan as a "major non-NATO ally" shortly after arriving in the country for talks with Karzai. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid)

    Ahmad Jamshid / AP Photo

    Afghanistan joined a short list of non-NATO countries that the United States considers major allies on Saturday. “We see this as a powerful symbol of our commitment to Afghanistan’s future,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday. Clinton said that the U.S. and Afghanistan need to foster close ties as the two countries plan for the planned withdrawal of American troops in 2014. Appearing in Kabul along with President Hamid Karzai, Clinton said Afghanistan’s status as a special ally will give it access to military surplus and other support for its armed forces—but the State Department said the designation does not “entail any security commitment.”

    Read it at The New York Times