BRUSSELS, April 25 (Xinhua) -- NATO's top military officer said on Wednesday that the alliance remains "cautiously optimistic" that its strategy in Afghanistan is working in spite of tactical challenges in recent months.
"Despite a number of tactical challenges in recent times, we remain cautiously optimistic that our plan is on track," said Danish Gen. Knud Bartels, chairman of NATO's military committee.
He said Afghan security forces are increasingly taking the lead and becoming more effective in fighting against Taliban militants.
"We can be cautiously optimistic that we are seeing clear evidence that the comparative advantage lies with the government of Afghanistan, its security forces and its people, and not with the Taliban," he said at the start of a two-day gathering of the chiefs of staff of all 28 NATO countries.
Gen. John Allen, top commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, and U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are also scheduled to speak at the event.
NATO is gradually handing over security responsibilities to Afghan security forces, which will pave the way for its withdrawal of all combat troops from the country by the end of 2014.
Though recent attacks by Taliban militants cast a shadow on the transition process, NATO and U.S. officials insist that they are sticking to the timetable.