Biden Revokes Afghanistan Status of NATO Ally amid Shifting Priorities

This month President Joe Biden sent a letter to Congress informing them that he intends to rescind Afghanistan’s status as a Major Non-NATO ally.

The move comes roughly a year after Kabul fell to Taliban forces. The catastrophic retreat of the American military occurred soon after, leaving behind arms and materials worth billions of dollars.

The 20-year campaign in the region failed to lead to the democratization of the country. Instead, the Taliban reinstituted sharia law and began purging the populace of people they deemed collaborators with the United States.

In January of this year, the US government informed the Afghanistan embassy in Washington D.C. it would have to close and that its diplomat’s immunity status was being revoked. One of the reasons for the move was the Taliban refusing to release Navy veteran Mark Frerichs who was kidnapped over two years ago.

The Biden administration is clearly trying to clean up its mess from the war on terror as it organizes its allies to respond to the Russian threat. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has forced the reordering of alliances across the world and NATO is no exception.

NATO is taking additional actions to strengthen the alliance. Sweden and Finland are on the path to becoming members and have increased their defensive posture accordingly.

The Afghanistan move is in alignment with the United States and its allies trying to prop up Ukraine to help it withstand the Russian invasion. Anything that does not further that aim, and that includes the war on terror in the Middle East, is being cast aside.

Ukraine has become a dividing line for many nations with some aligning with NATO and others supporting Russia and China. Afghanistan finds itself in the strange place of being forgotten by the world after dominating events for 20 years but there is little question about who it is siding with.

Earlier this year Russia handed over the Afghanistan embassy in Moscow to the Taliban. Although it did not officially recognize the new government at that time, it did accredit its diplomats which is a necessary first step to doing so.

As the Ukraine conflict continues more countries will pick sides. Unfortunately, the world looks to be on a path to a larger-scale war.