Asking Islamabad to take "additional steps" to combat terrorism, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned that any terror attack on the US if traced back to Pakistan would have a "devastating impact" on bilateral ties.
Contending that terror groups if unchecked can be like having "a poisonous snake in your backyard," Clinton suggested she was "all the time" worried about a terrorist attack against the US emanating from Pakistan.
"There are still additional steps that we are asking and expecting the Pakistanis to take. But there's no doubt in anyone's mind that should an attack on the United States be traced to Pakistan, it would be a very devastating impact on our relationship," Clinton told the BBC in an interview, according to the State Department transcripts.
She said the Pakistan government now understands its responsibility to protect its people from attacks, as well as towards the US and the rest of the world, a significant change from the time the Obama administration assumed power.
"So we have increased our cooperation, deepened our relationship when it comes to fighting terrorism," she said.
Clinton said when Obama Administration came to power, there was very little activity on the part of the Pakistani government against any terrorist group, even the ones that were moving inexorably close to Islamabad or which were very clearly attacking Pakistani targets elsewhere in the country.
"Now, that has changed and the Pakistani military has taken significant losses in going after a number of these terrorist groups," she said.
"There is, however, an absolute link now among all these terrorist groups. It's like having a poisonous snake in your backyard, and you think, well, he'll only attack intruders or strangers, he won't turn on us," she said.
She said that network of terror is clearly a threat to Pakistan, to Afghanistan, and to other countries.
"... and we expect to see greater activity in cooperation with the Pakistanis against all these networks," Clinton said.
She said she viewed the groups as "a syndicate of terror" which were cooperating across the line that used to divide them.
"You can't separate one out... And frankly, they are no longer so choosy about their targets. They are engaged in terrible attacks here in Pakistan and beyond.
"So we are going to continue to press for specific action against all of them," she said.