U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the United States will take a key role in two restive regions in Afghanistan after NATO ends its combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014.

Hagel made the comments after the end of a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. He said the U.S. would take regional responsibilities in southern and eastern Afghanistan, while Germany and Italy would take similar roles in the north and west. He said Turkey was considering a role in and around Kabul.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said ministers agreed to a general concept for the role after NATO transitions to its long-planned noncombat mission. However, he did not announce Wednesday how many troops the U.S. and its allies should keep in Afghanistan after 2014.