WASHINGTON - Amid strengthening ties between Islamabad and Kabul, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and US National Security Adviser Susan Rice Friday agreed on the need to align support for the Afghan-led reconciliation efforts, the White House said.

“They discussed ways to mutually support regional stability in the near term, highlighting the need to align support for Afghan-led reconciliation efforts and continue regular US-Pakistani engagement,” Bernadette Meehan, spokesperson of the National Security Council said in a statement, as the minister wrapped up his three-day visit to Washington.

Besides Ms Rice, the interior minister met Secretary of State John Kerry and Special Representative Daniel Feldman.

During the meeting, Ms Rice commended the role played by Pakistan’s delegation led by Nisar Ali Khan at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.

“They agreed to continue working together as partners against the threat of terrorism,” the statement said.

President Obama’s Special Assistant on Afghanistan and Pakistan Jeff Eggers joined Ms Rice in the meeting, the Pakistani embassy said.

“The two leaders exchanged views on matters of mutual interest in both bilateral and regional context. Expressing satisfaction on the state of play in the bilateral relationship, both sides agreed to continue the momentum of cooperation generated in the wake of last ministerial session of the strategic dialogue process held in Islamabad.”

Rice “commended the resolve of the leadership and people of Pakistan to deal with terrorism in a comprehensive manner.” Rice assured the interior minister of the continued US support for Pakistan’s efforts to eliminate terrorism.

Noting the timely US initiative to convene the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, the interior minister apprised NSA Rice about the ongoing military operations and steps being taken in follow up to the National Action Plan to eliminate terrorism.

Rice appreciated the sacrifices and commitment of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

Afterwards, the interior minister told Pakistani reporters that his bilateral meetings with top American officials were “positive”.

He also welcomed President Obama’s emphasis at the summit that terrorism is not linked to any religion, saying this clear-cut stance would help strengthen the fight against terror.

“It was a corroboration of Pakistan’s stand - and a significant step in terms of clarity as well as towards forming a united front against militancy – we believe terrorists should be known by their misdeeds, and not by their religious affiliation,” the minister said.

The comments by Nisar Ali Khan follow Obama’s categorical declaration that militants like Al-Qaeda and Islamic State operatives do not represent Islam and that the United States is not at war with Islam.

Khan said leaders at the summit also shared Pakistan’s view that the underlying causes of terror – including political disputes – need to be addressed and that terrorism cannot be wiped out through military means alone.

The interior minister particularly referred to the Palestinian and Kashmir disputes as among the causes that breed extremism and militancy.

The minister said on his return to Islamabad he would propose to the government to host a regional conference, where South Asian and regional countries could discuss ways to combat violent extremism comprehensively.

During the meetings, the minister highlighted how Pakistan has been trying to grapple with the multiple challenges facing the country.

Nisar Khan also raised the issue of a country in the region not wanting to see progress in Pakistan, and that there was evidence that it played a negative role in inflaming the fire of terror.

It is the US prerogative to have relations with members of the international community but there is fallout for Pakistan in the United States’ advancing relations with India through certain agreements and that there is an imperative for Washington to maintain a strategic balance in the region, he said.

During the meetings, the interior minister also underlined the importance of clarity and coordination with regard to Afghanistan.

The US officials were positive towards Pakistan, and recognised the country’s critical role and sacrifices in the fight against terror, he said.

Stating that US was sensitive to the Pakistani concerns, Nisar said that President Obama had called Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif twice, once before and then again after the conclusion of his visit to New Delhi last month to take the Pakistani leader into confidence.

“The US acknowledges that Pakistan has a vital role - and that Pakistan is a very important strategic partner of the international community.”

Questioned that India wanted to highlight its often-propagated threat from Pakistan soil but failed to do so at the White House summit this week, the minister responded that contrastingly with the Indian infatuation on linking Pakistan to terror, wherever it might occur, Islamabad talks of solutions to problems.

He expressed the hope that Indian foreign secretary’s planned visit to Pakistan would lead to its logical conclusion for peace.

“We will meet the Indian foreign secretary with an open mind - instead of indulging in a blame game we will meet with an open mind.”

He hoped that New Delhi would also demonstrate a positive spirit, towards forging peace.

“We believe in peace and would like to have good relations - but it take two to tango - I hope India will respond.”