By the CNN Wire Staff
The United States named Afghanistan a major non-NATO ally Saturday, clearing the way for the two countries to maintain a defense and economic relationship even as American combat troops withdraw.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the designation during a surprise visit to Kabul.
A day after the announcement, she will attend a gathering of international donors in Tokyo who will be asked to pledge financial support for Afghanistan after nearly all U.S.-led NATO troops pull out of the country by the end of 2014.
The relationship is beneficial during the transition as both nations prepare for post-2014, according to Clinton.