Thursday, September 21, 2006

Musharraf: US threatened to bomb Pakistan

Aljazeera - The Pakistani president has said that after the 9/11 attacks the United States threatened to bomb his country if it did not cooperate with America's campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In an interview with the CBS news show "60 Minutes" that will air on Sunday, Pervez Musharraf said the threat came from Richard Armitage, the US deputy secretary of state, and was given to Musharraf's intelligence director.

Musharraf said: "The intelligence director told me that [Armitage] said, 'Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age.'

"I think it was a very rude remark."

Armitage was not immediately available to comment. A Bush administration official said there would be no comment on a "reported conversation between Mr. Armitage and a Pakistani official".

But the official said: "After 9/11, Pakistan made a strategic decision to join the war on terror and has since been a steadfast partner in that effort. Pakistan's commitment to this important endeavor has not wavered and our partnership has widened as a result."

The official 9/11 Commission report on the attacks and their aftermath, based largely on government documents, said US national security officials focused immediately on securing Pakistani cooperation as they planned a response.

Documents showed Armitage met the Pakistani ambassador and the visiting head of Pakistan's military intelligence service in Washington on September 13 and asked Pakistan to take seven steps.

They included ending logistical support for bin Laden and giving the United States blanket overflight and landing rights for military and intelligence flights.

The report did not discuss any threat the United States may have made, but it said Musharraf agreed to all seven US requests the same day.