Nightly News   |  October 21, 2011

Clinton to Pakistan: Stop harboring terrorists

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Pakistan officials Friday to stop harboring the terrorists who target U.S. troops in Afghanistan. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

KATE SNOW, anchor: Now to the war in Afghanistan and the increasingly tense relationship with the US ally right next door, Pakistan . Today on the same day the president announced the departure from Iraq , Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turned up the heat on Pakistan . For more on that our chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell joins us now from our Washington bureau.

Andrea: In a showdown with Pakistan , the administration's top guns delivered a blunt

ANDREA MITCHELL reporting: Stop harboring the terrorists who target US troops in Afghanistan .

warning: You can't keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbors. You know, eventually those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard.

Ms. HILLARY CLINTON: But no matter how they spell her name, to many Pakistanis , Hillary Clinton and the US are the snakes . It is a fragile alliance now teetering on the brink. First the US found and killed Osama bin Laden outside Pakistan 's capitol. Pakistan was furious. Now the US says the network of terrorists known as the Haqqanis , who attacked the American embassy in Kabul last month, is backed by a Pakistan spy agency and elements of its military.

MITCHELL: We're eyes wide open on this. We're going to take the fight to whoever we need to, to protect our guys and to give the Afghans the time and space they need to build up their own capacity to take these guys on.

Mr. DENIS McDONOUGH (Deputy National Security Adviser): Still, Clinton acknowledged today that, at Pakistan 's request, the US secretly met with the terror group's leader last summer to see if they would lay down their arms.

MITCHELL: We had one preliminary meeting to essentially just see if they would show up for even a preliminary meeting for us to not only share intelligence, but to do everything we can to disrupt their activities.

Ms. CLINTON: Instead, the terrorists escalated their attacks, prompting a stiff warning today from a top senator.

MITCHELL: And if the only option that Pakistan presents us is a choice between losing an ally and continuing to lose our troops, then we will choose the former.

Senator CARL LEVIN (Democrat, Armed Services Committee): But, in the end, Pakistan may hold the cards to the end of the war in Afghanistan . It controls the supply routes to US troops there, and the US says the terrorists are prolonging that war. Kate :

MITCHELL: Andrea , thanks so much. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will, by the way, be David Gregory 's guest on this Sunday's " Meet The Press ."