NEW YORK - Pakistans decision to extend the term of army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani evoked positive comments in US newspaper reports, but the Obama administration appeared a little tight-lipped about it. It was a matter for and a decision by the civilian government of Pakistan, State department Spokesman Philip Crowley said in a brief comment when asked about Gen Kayanis extension and its implications on the civilian rule A dispatch in The Washington Post said Gen Kayanis three-year extension would leave a respected soldier at the helm of Pakistans most powerful institution just as the US looks for a reliable partner in the war in against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Kayani, 58, is known to be popular among US and NATO generals who have visited him regularly since he took the top job in 2007, trying to enlist his help in battling militants along the countrys border with Afghanistan, the newspaper said. At home, he is praised as a professional solider who has led successful campaigns against extremists in the frontier region, steered the army away from politics after a divisive period of military-backed rule and improved the morale and welfare of the nearly 600,000-strong force. The Post said the decision was mostly welcomed on Friday, with many saying they agreed with the governments stated reason that the country needed continuity given the ongoing fight against extremism. Critics were concerned it represented an unnecessary concentration of power in the hands of a single solider given the countrys history of military rulers, it said. The extension begins in November, when his current three-year term ends, meaning Kayani will be in the job when elections are next scheduled for 2013. The chain-smoking, golf-playing general is a man of few words and credited with a sharp mind. But in a sign of the power the army still has, most analysts assumed the extension followed a demand by Kayani to stay on - rather than an independent decision by the civilian leadership to keep him in his post. The New York Times said that that the move was backed by the United States as it seeks to encourage Pakistan as a more reliable ally against Taliban and Qaeda militants. The Americans have praised General Kayani for his armys campaigns against the Pakistani Taliban but, behind the scenes, the Americans have been disappointed with the generals failure to disown the Afghan Taliban, who benefit from sanctuaries in Pakistans tribal areas, the Times said in a dispatch from Islamabad. While praising Gen. Kayani, The Wall Street Journal said, Still, the extension of his tenure is likely to raise concerns among some pro-democracy activists about the pre-eminent role of the military in Pakistan. The country has a democratically elected civilian government under President Asif Ali Zardari. But the country has been ruled more by military leaders in its 63-year history, most recently between 1999 and 2008.