KRAKOW (Agencies) - US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Friday that Washington could accept a political agreement between the Afghan government and Taliban rebels along the lines of a truce in neighbouring Pakistan. Gates' comments at the close of a NATO meeting contrasted with those of Richard Holbrooke, the new US envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, who said this week that he was worried that the peace deal was tantamount to surrender by Pakistan. Asked whether Washington would approve an agreement between the Kabul government and Taliban guerrillas along similar lines, Gates replied: "If there is a reconciliation, if insurgents are willing to put down their arms, if the reconciliation is essentially on the terms being offered by the government then I think we would be very open to that. "We have said all along that ultimately some sort of political reconciliation has to be part of the long-term solution in Afghanistan," Gates said. Gates said up to 20 nations have offered to boost their civilian or military commitments to Afghanistan. "Over the last couple of days, 19 or 20 countries announced at one point or another in the meetings that they would be increasing their contribution, either on the civilian or the military or the training side," he said. "So I consider that a good start as we begin to look towards the summit" of NATO leaders in early April, he told reporters in Krakow, southern Poland after informal talks between alliance defence ministers. Afghanistan's government has said it wants to engage Taliban who are not hardliners to lay down their arms in return for a political role in the country. But representatives of the Taliban, who have made significant military gains in the last two years and now control vast swathes of countryside, say they will not negotiate while foreign troops remain in Afghanistan. A similar deal in Swat last year collapsed in a few months and was blamed for giving insurgents time to regroup. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said at the defence meeting that a broader regional approach was needed to help put down the insurgency in Afghanistan. The focus would be on more involvement from Pakistan, but could include Iran one day, he said. He said the suggestion does not mean that NATO plans to enter into dialogue with Iran immediately but that Tehran could be involved 'at a certain stage ... in a regional approach toward Afghanistan'.