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Armitage Denies Making 'Stone Age' Threat

Richard Armitage says he never said the United States would bomb Pakistan if the country didn't help in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida, as Pakistan President Musharraf told CBS' 60 Minutes.

Armitage says he spoke with Pakistan's after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 -- but that he did not, as Musharraf, has stated, threaten to bomb Pakistan "back into the Stone Age."

Instead, Armitage says, he told Pakistan's top intelligence official on Sept. 12, 2001, that Pakistan would have to decide if it were "with us or against us" in the American effort to confront al-Qaida and the Taliban.

"It would be completely out of character for me to threaten the use of military force when I was not authorized to do so," Armitage says. "I don't command aircraft and could not make good on such a threat."

President Bush, who hosted President Musharraf in Washington Friday, has said the first he heard of the alleged threat was when he saw recent media reports about it.

Melissa Block talks with Armitage, who was the Deputy Secretary of State in 2001.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.