U.S. boosts Afghan status, now easier to acquire defense equipment

KABUL Sat Jul 7, 2012 6:10am EDT

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KABUL (Reuters) - The United States has named Afghanistan a "major non-NATO ally", a status that will make it easier for the Afghan government to acquire U.S. defense materiel, U.S. officials said on Saturday.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was to announce the decision - formally made by President Barack Obama - during an unannounced visit to Afghanistan ahead of a major donors' conference in Tokyo.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed, editing by Amie Ferris-Rotman and Ron Popeski)

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