Soldiers carry the body of a soldier, killed by terrorists in the border areas with Afghanistan

Rex Tillerson has said he has urged Pakistan's leadership to consider the possibility of terrorists shifting focus from Kabul to Islamabad in the future

In a stern message to Pakistan, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he has warned authorities in Islamabad that terrorists given safe heaven might one day shift their attention to acquiring Pakistani territory.

Tillerson has been critical of Pakistan's reluctance in cracking down on home-grown terrorists and has repeatedly conveyed US President Donald Trump's message of stronger action against Haqqanis and other terror groups. Earlier this week, he issued an advice at a Washington think-tank in which he said Islamabad could become a primary target for terrorists in the future. "Pakistan has allowed so many terrorist organisations to find safe haven within its territories, and these organisations are growing in size and influence, that at some point I have said to the leadership of Pakistan, you may be the target, and they turn their attention from Kabul and decide they like Islamabad as a target better," he said.

Tillerson was in Pakistan late October and had received a rather frosty welcome in Islamabad. There, he had asked for decisive action against terrorism. A day later, he landed in New Delhi and in a joint-statement with Sushma Swaraj, once again showed a firm commitment towards battling terrorism.

The top US diplomat has appeared tough on Pakistan but has also clarified that Washington wants to work closely with Pakistan in combating threats emerging from the region. However, all has not been well between the two countries with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif saying last month that his country needs to look beyond the US and foster even closer ties with China and Russia.