Afghanistan wants to be designated a significant U.S. ally

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Washington, May 12 (ANI): Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his advisors are pressing the Obama administration to designate Afghanistan as a significant U.S. ally.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Afghan team is also pressing hard for a new security agreement.

The paper quoted a senior Afghan official as saying that both objectives reflect Karzai's desire to use his visit to Washington to lay the groundwork for a closer, long-term security relationship with Washington.

Afghan officials are particularly interested in the "major non- NATO ally" designation, a status enjoyed by Japan, Australia, South Korea, Israel and other strategically important countries outside Europe.

The designation brings with it access to U.S. military technology and other benefits.

These issues are being discussed this week, but U.S. officials are cautious about the steps needed to significantly expand future U.S. security commitments.

No new agreements are considered likely as part of this week's visit.

The senior Afghan official predicted a new agreement could be reached by the end of this year. (ANI)

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