Afghanistan's defense chief says he expects NATO to endorse a list of provinces and districts where alliance forces will hand over responsibility to the Afghan army and police.
Defense Minister Rahim Wardak said the start of the process was good news as he arrived for a meeting of NATO ministers in Brussels on Thursday.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai plans to announce on March 21 the first areas outside Kabul to be transferred to Afghan control. Karzai has said he plans to name five or six places, but has not specified which ones.
The transition is crucial to the alliance's exit strategy. NATO hopes to transfer full oversight of security to Afghan forces by 2014.
There are currently about 145,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.