KABUL, Afghanistan – The top U.S. officials in Afghanistan sought on Wednesday to portray the deadly and sustained 20-hour attack on the U.S. Embassy and other targets as evidence that Afghanistan’s security forces are increasingly competent and that the Taliban is on the defensive.

Gen. John Allen, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan said the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, a sophisticated insurgent group closely affiliated with the Taliban, likely carried out the brazen attack. Afghan and NATO troops killed the last insurgent at approximately 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Allen said insurgents had scored a propaganda victory with Tuesday’s attack, which was the most sustained and widespread in the capital since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001. But he said it accomplished little more.

“Yesterday’s attack was a fleeting event; it came and it went,” he told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “The insurgents are on the defensive.”

The general said the performance of Afghan security forces should tell Afghans “that they can sleep well at night.”

Officials said seven assailants apparently wore burqas to evade checkpoints and manage to stockpile weapons.