WASHINGTON The Obama Administration defended General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani when Indian journalists posed questions at a news briefing about alleged links between ISI and militant groups when he was the head of that intelligence unit, saying Pakistan had really cracked down on extremists under his command. Pakistan has, in our view, made a strategic shift in the last year or more. It has taken aggressive action at considerable expense to Pakistan, State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley, told reporters at the regular State Department briefing here on Wednesday. During General Kayanis tenure as the Chief of Staff, Pakistan had, in fact, taken the most aggressive action its ever taken against extremist elements within its borders. We want to see that continue, Crowley said. We continue our conversations with Pakistani officials on how best to accomplish these things which are, we believe, in our shared interest, he said. US considers Kayani, who has kept the Pakistan Army away from politics in Pakistan, as the most important ally as its war against terror enters a crucial phase in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Top US military officials make frequent contacts with Kayani. When an Indian journalist alleged that Pakistan was playing a double, the spokesman expressed satisfaction over the aggressive steps Pakistan had taken in recent months at considerable expense to itself. The Pakistani people are suffering as much if not more than any other people in the world from terrorism. But there is clearly more to be done, he said. Our joint concern here is to eliminate the safe havens that exist in the region and to prevent the emergence of new safe havens from which there can be the export of terrorism that can threaten US, Europe, or other parts of the world, Crowley said. The spokesman also said that there is a vast difference between the previous Musharraf regime and the current democratically elected government. Oh, is there a difference between a military-led governments and is there a difference between a civilian-led government with the kind of legitimacy that General Musharraf lacked. Of course there is. This is a new government, and even the decision to extend the term of General Kayani was the Pakistani civilian governments decision to make, he said. There is a vast difference in this current government. It enjoys more support from its people. And we are trying to help Pakistan build even more trust and support within its population. Some of its institutions are fragile, he noted. It is expressly why the supplemental is important to us that was passed by the House yesterday, to provide the resources so that we can continue to assist Pakistan, build up its institutions of government, have the government be able to deliver stronger services, more reliable services to its people. Through that public support, thats how you narrow the space that extremists currently have to function, Crowley said. The spokesman deflected a question about British Prime Minister David Camerons comment in India that Pakistan should not be allowed to promote the export of terror, saying that the United States does not want to see the export of terror by any country. We are concerned about and have said many times that extremist element within the borders of Pakistan, in the tribal areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan, first and foremost, it represents a threat to Pakistan, it represents a threat to Afghanistan, Crowley said. As we have seen, extremists with links to these areas have made their way to Europe, have made their way to the United States. This is an important component of our relationship and our strategic dialogue with Pakistan, and we are both satisfied with the aggressive steps that Pakistan has taken in recent months at considerable expense to Pakistan, he said. As weve made clear, we want to see Pakistan stay on the offensive in combating these extremist elements. I know Pakistani officials in recent days have publicly stated their commitment to continue to do that, Crowley said.