Dempsey, NATO military chiefs hash out details of post-war Afghanistan

The NATO and Partners' Chiefs of Defense Meeting is the first time Dempsey and other top alliance leaders have met since President Obama's one-on-one meeting with Afghan president Hamid Karzai at the White House last Friday. 

"Throughout these discussions, our objective will be to ensure that we build upon the momentum and success currently achieved in order to set the conditions for the transition of responsibility for security to credible, capable and sustainable Afghan security forces," Danish Army Gen. Knud Bartels, chairman of NATO's military committee, said on Wednesday. 

Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, will brief Dempsey and the rest of the NATO chiefs during the summit in Brussels on his vision for the American military presence in Afghanistan after 2014, according to reports by the Pentagon's Armed Forces Press Service. 

2014 is when the Obama administration plans to pull all U.S. combat forces from the country. More than 30,000 troops have been redeployed with the remaining 66,000 American troops set to rotate out of Afghanistan over the next year. 

A final decision on the American postwar presence in Afghanistan is expected no later than November, according to White House officials. 

Dempsey's visit to NATO headquarters comes as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is scheduled to meet with several Western European defense chiefs as part of a week-long goodwill trip through the region. 

While both men will also use their time in Western Europe to focus on a number of euro-centric defense issues facing NATO members, the majority of those talks will be inherently focused on the new path for postwar Afghanistan set by the White House last week. 

Afghan National Security Forces will take the lead in all security missions in Afghanistan with U.S. support by this spring, Obama said during last Friday's joint press conference with Karzai at the White House. 

That transition was scheduled to take place sometime in early 2014, ahead of the American withdrawal from the country. American troops will remain in country after the handover this spring, but will take a backseat to Afghan commanders. 

That said, "by the end of next year — 2014 — the transition will be complete [and] this war will come to a responsible end," Obama said at the time.