U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday sought to play down fears that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists, saying that despite the “increasing challenge” to the authority of the Pakistani State from extremist groups America had “confidence” in Islamabad’s control over its nuclear arsenal.

Ms. Clinton, who is on a visit to Britain, warned that Saturday’s attack on Pakistan’s military headquarters in Rawalpindi was a grim reminder of the threat the Pakistani State faced from extremists, but said there was “no evidence” that they were going to take it over.

“Yesterday was another reminder that extremists ... are increasingly threatening the authority of the State, but we see no evidence they are going to take over the State,” Ms. Clinton said.

Replying to questions from journalists after meeting her British counterpart David Miliband, she said: “We have confidence in the Pakistani government and military’s control over its nuclear weapons.”

Ms. Clinton, who also met Prime Minister Gordon Brown, issued a strong warning to Iran, saying that the international community would “not wait indefinitely” for it to dismantle its controversial nuclear programme.

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