This is pure comedy, but with a massive and humorless price tag.
Or will the true function of the remaining NATO and US troops be to protect the ongoing mining operations (performed by China under US military protection) and to act as the "Opium Protection Police" for Britain's most profitable export product???
Of course the puppet Karzai will agree to anything since the continuous monthly $300K cash drops of US dollars to his office are much more enticing than getting shot in the face...
How anyone can read the following article and consider this to be a "US withdrawal plan" is beyond me...
2013.5.9 Afghanistan; Hamid Karzai Reveals US Will Retain Nine Bases After Withdrawal (guardian.co.uk):
President strikes conciliatory tone about larger-than-expected continuing deployment, despite frequent criticism of US forces
The United States wants to keep troops at nine bases across Afghanistan, the country's president, Hamid Karzai, said on Thursday – a larger number than expected given Washington's scaled-back ambitions for shaping the country's future.
Karzai, who has often been a fierce critic of the foreign forces that have dominated his country for years, was surprisingly conciliatory about the prospect of a long-term US presence. Keeping American soldiers on the ground was in Afghan interests, he said, as long as the soldiers came with support for the Afghan government and economy.
"We can agree to give them the bases – them staying on after 2014 is for the good of Afghanistan," Karzai said in a speech at Kabul University. "The condition is that they bring peace and security and take action quickly … on the basic strengthening of Afghanistan, helping the economy of Afghanistan."
The uneasy allies are currently thrashing out a bilateral security agreement (BSA) to define the terms for their future co-operation, and Karzai's comments were the first real insight into the slow and difficult negotiations.
"We are trying to ensure the interests of both countries are satisfied in this agreement," Karzai told students and dignitaries gathered to celebrate the university's 80th anniversary. "We want roads, electricity, hydropower dams, and strengthening of the Afghan government."
He may nonetheless have annoyed American officials by revealing details about strategic planning on future commitments to Afghanistan that had been kept under tight wraps.
President Barack Obama has made clear that the US will not fight the Taliban after the Nato-led mission to Afghanistan ends next year; any troops that stay on will concentrate instead on training Afghan soldiers and tackling al-Qaida and similar groups in the lawless border areas near Pakistan.
Facing budget pressures at home, and a declining appetite for risking lives and US money in Afghanistan, Obama has explored a range of possibilities for supporting Afghanistan in future – including a "zero option" that would see the US foot the bill for much of the Afghan military but without any presence on the ground at all.
But the relative weakness of the Afghan army – which is struggling to master key capabilities from bomb detection and heavy weaponry to air power and medical evacuation – means that there is an expectation of some kind of long-term presence to help government forces hold off the battle-hardened Taliban.
The US embassy declined to confirm that Karzai had described its intention to remain in nine bases accurately, but said that it was not trying to secure title to land, or unlimited rights to keep forces on Afghan soil.
"President Obama has made it clear that we don't seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan," said US embassy spokesman David Snepp. "We anticipate that the BSA will address access to and use of Afghan facilities by US forces in the future."
The places in which the US wants to keep troops include the capital, Kabul, the sprawling Bagram airbase, which has been the heart of operations in the east, the restive southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, and Shindand in the west, where Nato is training the Afghan airforce, Karzai said.
The other bases are in the northern hub of Mazar-i-Sharif, the western city of Herat, near the Iranian border, and eastern Gardez and Jalalabad, which is a key gateway to Pakistan and a base for drones.
Karzai's speech also included an attack on Pakistan after days of skirmishes between Afghan and Pakistani forces along their contested border, so the public embrace of a long-term US military presence may have been intended as a reminder to Islamabad that his country has a powerful ally with a stake in keeping the government in Kabul afloat.
Afghanistan has long accused its neighbour of covert support for insurgent groups that have found safe havens in its lawless mountain regions.
2013.5.4 US To Have Military Bases In Afghanistan After 2014 (PressTV, youtube.com):