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Pakistan: U.S. threatened in 2001

Sept. 22, 2006 at 2:35 PM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- President Pervez Musharraf refused to comment further Friday on his claim that Pakistan was threatened with bombing, saying he has to honor his book deal.

Appearing with U.S. President George Bush at a White House news conference, Musharraf said Friday he is "honor bound" not to discuss the book's contents until Simon & Schuster publishes Musharraf's "In the Line of Fire: A Memoir" Monday.

"In other words, buy the book is what he's saying," Bush said.

Musharraf, in an interview with CBS to be aired Sunday, said that Pakistan had been threatened by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Armitage allegedly said that Pakistan would be "bombed back to the stone age" if it did not cooperate against Osama bin Laden.

Bush, more seriously, said that the first he had heard of the alleged threat was when he read the newspapers Friday. He said he had been told by Secretary of State Colin Powell either the night of Sept. 11 or "shortly thereafter" that Pakistan was on board.

The two presidents appeared friendly, joking with each other and the media. Bush said he has been assured that Pakistan's agreement with tribal leaders on the Afghanistan border does not mean that the area has become a safe haven for Taliban or al-Qaida fighters or Osama bin Laden.

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