Americans in Afghanistan to fight through 2014, top commander says

"And many of those contributions often take the form and the shape of training, mentoring, instructing -- and all of those are important to the mission overall," Allen said.

The general also played down the impact of Pakistan's decision to close ground supply lines for NATO forces last November in the aftermath of a NATO strike on Pakistani territory that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

"It has not in fact negatively affected my -- our -- prosecution of the campaign," he said. And Allen cited "some very positive indications of late" in negotiations with Pakistan that they will reopen those supply lines.

Asked about reports of tension between the White House and the Pentagon over the troop withdrawal plan, Allen replied: "There is no daylight between the commander on the ground in Afghanistan and the commander in chief."

"I think we're in an excellent strategic conversation right now about the way ahead. I'm frequently asked for my opinion and my views and I am grateful to be engaged in that kind of a strategic conversation," he said. "I was asked whether I could execute that plan and I told them that I can, and I'm executing the plan."

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