NATO says the Taliban insurgency is not spreading in Afghanistan and that 70 percent of the violence last year occurred in only 10 percent of the country, in contrast to more pessimistic assessments.
Lieutenant Colonel Claudia Foss, a spokeswoman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), said three-quarters of Afghanistan suffered one violent incident per week.
"It is becoming increasingly clear that the insurgent movement is being contained," Foss told reporters at a news conference on Sunday in Kabul.
Her comments followed a series of darker assessments that said a resurgent Taliban was challenging the US and its allies.
An independent study co-chaired by retired Marine Corps General James Jones and former UN ambassador Thomas Pickering warned days ago that Afghanistan risks becoming a failed state due to deteriorating international support and the growing Taliban insurgency.
At the same time, most of NATO's European members are refusing to send soldiers to Afghanistan's dangerous south, opening a rift between the US, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands and others that have borne the brunt of fighting.
A British Cabinet minister on Sunday called on the allies to send troops to the south.
"We have made clear to our NATO partners that we do want to see appropriate burden sharing, not just in the number of troops on the ground but where those troops are committed within Afghanistan," Douglas Alexander, British international development secretary, told the BBC.
Germany, especially, has been resisting pressure to deploy troops to the south. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has reportedly urged all NATO partners to send more forces to join the fight against the Taliban.
Germany insists its parliamentary mandate is for its 3,500 soldiers to serve along the northern border, only helping out in the south for a limited period of time.
The issue is expected to feature prominently in discussions at an informal meeting of NATO defense ministers next month in Lithuania.
The US contributes a third of NATO's 42,000-member ISAF mission. Canada is threatening not to extend its Afghan military mission after next year unless another NATO country sends more soldiers to the south. The country has lost 78 soldiers and one diplomat since joining the US-led force that toppled the Taliban in late 2001.