"From now until the end of 2014 you may see adaptation of our presence. Our troops can redeploy, take on other tasks, or even withdraw, or we can reduce the number of foreign troops," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in an interview with The Guardian newspaper.
The NATO chief said he would hold off on any planned acceleration of a NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan until Gen. John Allen, head of all U.S. forces in the country, provides his assessment of the war to the White House later this year.
The alliance's forces in the country total just over 120,000 boots on the ground, along with the remaining 68,000-man American force left in Afghanistan after this summer's initial drawdown.
The last of the 32,000 U.S. surge forces the White House sent into southern Afghanistan in 2009 arrived home earlier this month.
Specifically, alliance leaders want to hear Allen's assessment of the Afghan National Security Forces and their ability to shoulder security operations in the country after U.S. and NATO forces leave.
The lynchpin for the Obama administration's withdrawal plan is to successfully hand over those operations to the ANSF. But that plan is in danger of being thrown off the tracks due to the rise in so-called "insider" attacks by Afghan forces against U.S. and NATO forces.
More than 50 coalition troops have been killed by Afghan forces this year, a majority of those casualties suffered by American forces. While American commanders are still trying to determine how many of those attacks were executed by the Taliban, Rasmussen said it was clear the terror group was behind the attacks.
"It's safe to say that a significant part of the insider attacks are due to Taliban tactics ... Probably it is part of a Taliban strategy," he said.
Top U.S. military leaders, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, have characterized the recent rise in insider attacks as the last gasp of a retreating enemy.
That said, Panetta and Dempsey also admitted the new Taliban tactic is having a serious detrimental effect on U.S. and coalition operations in Afghanistan.
Rasmussen's suggestions for an early NATO withdrawal come weeks after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) suggested the White House redraft its entire war plan in Afghanistan due to the U.S. losses tied to insider attacks.
The Arizona Republican and staunch defense hawk added that an accelerated withdrawal of American forces should be one of several options the White House considers as part of that new plan.
McCain later clarified his position, saying while an accelerated withdrawal should be on the table, going with such a plan would be devastating to American interests in the region.