Gjesteskribent

Pakistans mektige og myteomspunne militære etterretningstjeneste, ISI, har mistet kontrollen over ekstremistene de bygget opp på 90-tallet. Samtidig er det krefter innen ISI og det militære som ønsker å holde ekstremistene i reserve, som et kort de kan spille ut. Spillet i Pakistan er farligere enn noen gang.

Det er Carlotta Gall og David Rhode i New York Times som har snakket off the record med avgåtte tjenestemenn i Inter Services Intelligence – ISI. Det man ser utspille seg i Waziristan og Swat-dalen er et resultat av ISIs gamble på 90-tallet, hvor man oppdro ekstremister og jihadister for å bruke dem i Kashmir og Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s premier military intelligence agency has lost control of some of the networks of Pakistani militants it has nurtured since the 1980s, and is now suffering the violent blowback of that policy, two former senior intelligence officials and other officials close to the agency say.

As the military has moved against them, the militants have turned on their former handlers, the officials said. Joining with other extremist groups, they have battled Pakistani security forces and helped militants carry out a record number of suicide attacks this year, including some aimed directly at army and intelligence units as well as prominent political figures, possibly even Benazir Bhutto.

The growing strength of the militants, many of whom now express support for Al Qaeda’s global jihad, presents a grave threat to Pakistan’s security, as well as NATO efforts to push back the Taliban in Afghanistan. American officials have begun to weigh more robust covert operations to go after Al Qaeda in the lawless border areas because they are so concerned that the Pakistani government is unable to do so.

The unusual disclosures regarding Pakistan’s leading military intelligence agency — Inter-Services Intelligence, or the ISI — emerged in interviews last month with former senior officials who have knowledge of the inner workings of the ISI. The disclosures confirm some of the worst fears, and suspicions, of American and Western military officials and diplomats.

Ånden er ute av flasken

ISI oppdro ekstremistene, med religion som drivkraft, og oppdragsgiverne må ha forstått at læresvennene ville kunne komme til å tro på det de ble lært. Noen av offiserene ble også smittet av jihad-ideologien og ble svorne hjelpere.

The threat from the militants, the former intelligence officials warned, is one that Pakistan is unable to contain. «We could not control them,» said one former senior intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. «We indoctrinated them and told them, ‘You will go to heaven.’ You cannot turn it around so suddenly.»

Too clever by far

Musharraf og de militære har vært for smarte: de har drevet et dobbeltspill, hvor de både skulle holde seg inne med amerikanerne og de islamistiske kreftene. Men begivenhetene har hatt sin egen tyngdekraft. Nå må man velge side.

But some former American intelligence officials have argued that Musharraf and the ISI never fully jettisoned their militant protégés, and instead carried on a «double-game.» They say Musharraf cooperated with American intelligence agencies to track down foreign Qaeda members while holding Taliban commanders and Kashmiri militants in reserve.

In order to undercut major opposition parties, he wooed religious conservatives, according to analysts. And instead of carrying out a crackdown, Musharraf took half-measures.

Reserve

Ingen anklager Musharraf for direkte å ha spilt på jihadister. Men andre i maktsystemet har sett sin fordel i det. Det er ikke bare med atomvåpen at Pakistan har spilt hasard!

One former senior intelligence official said that some officials in the government and the ISI thought the militants should be held in reserve, as insurance against the day when American and NATO forces abandoned the region and Pakistan might again need them as a lever against India.

«We had a school of thought that favored retention of this capability,» the former senior intelligence official said.

Maktstruktur

Noe av problemet med Pakistan er hvor svak den sivile regjering er. ISI har hele tiden vokst i makt og styrke hver gang det har vært militærstyre. Nå har Musharraf sittet i åtte år. Han viser svakhetstegn, og det har hele tiden vært spillerom for ulike aktører, også de som favoriserer ekstremistene.

Some senior ministers and officials in Musharraf’s government sympathized with the militants and protected them, former intelligence officials said. Still others advised a go-slow approach, fearing a backlash against the government from the militants.

When arrests were ordered, the police refused to carry them out in some cases until they received written orders, believing the militants were still protected by the ISI, as they had been for years.

Inside the ISI, there was division as well. One part of the ISI hunted down militants, the officials said, while another continued to work with them. The result was confusion.

Biter hånden

Ekstremistene har for lengst vokst fra sine oppdragsgivere og biter nå den hånden som fødde dem:

The first suicide bombing attack on a military target outside the tribal areas came days after an airstrike on a madrasa in the tribal area of Bajaur in October 2006 killed scores of people.

Another turning point came last July when Pakistani forces stormed the Red Mosque in Islamabad, where militants had armed themselves in a compound less than a mile from ISI headquarters and demanded the imposition of Islamic law. Government officials said that more than 100 people died. The militants have insisted that thousands did.

Several weeks later, militants carried out the first direct attacks on ISI employees. Suicide bombers twice attacked buses ferrying agency employees, killing 18 on Sept. 4 and 15 more on Nov. 24. According to Pakistani analysts, the attacks signaled that enraged militants had turned on their longtime patrons..

Ett eksempel

One militant leader, Maulana Masood Azhar, typifies how extremists once trained by the ISI have broken free of the agency’s control, turned against the government and joined with other militants to create powerful new networks.

In 2000, Azhar received support from the ISI when he founded Jaish-e-Muhammad, or Army of Muhammad, a Pakistani militant group fighting Indian forces in Kashmir, according to Robert Grenier, who served as the Central Intelligence Agency station chief in Islamabad from 1999 to 2002. The ISI intermittently provided training and operational coordination to such groups, he said, but struggled to fully control them.

Musharraf banned Jaish-e-Muhammad and detained Azhar after militants carried out an attack on the Indian Parliament building in December 2001. Indian officials accused Jaish-e-Muhammad and another Pakistani militant group of masterminding the attack. After India massed hundreds of thousands of troops on Pakistan’s border, Musharraf vowed in a nationally televised speech that January to crack down on all militants in Pakistan.

«We will take strict action against any Pakistani who is involved in terrorism inside the country or abroad,» he said. Two weeks later, a British-born member of Azhar’s group, Ahmed Omar Sheikh, kidnapped Daniel Pearl, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal who was beheaded by his captors. Sheikh surrendered to the ISI, the agency that had supported Jaish-e-Muhammad, and was sentenced to death for the kidnapping.

After Pearl’s killing, Pakistani officials arrested more than 2,000 people in a crackdown. But within a year, Azhar and most of the 2,000 militants who had been arrested were freed. «I never believed that government ties with these groups was being irrevocably cut,» said Grenier, now a managing director at Kroll, a risk consulting firm.

Koordinatene mellom disse punktene sier mye: gruppene har stor rekkevidde og er istand til nesten hva som helst: Dannet i 2000 med myndighetenes velsignelse for å kjempe i Kashmir, slår noen måneder senere til mot parlamentet i New Dehli, og kidnapper deretter Daniel Pearl

Når man ser hensynsløsheten og dristigheten er det kanskje ikke så veldig dristig å antyde at noen av de samme kreftene kunne tenkes å ville drepe Norges utenriksminister?

Stoppet opp

Musharraf tilfredsstilte USA ved tidevis å arrestere utenlandske Al Qaida-ledere. Fra 2005 stoppet det også opp. På den tiden vant Al Qaida og utenlandske krigere på nytt fotfeste i Waziristan, og for ett år siden kapitulerte Musharraf.

Encouraged by the United States, the Pakistanis focused their resources on arresting senior Qaeda members, he said, which they successfully did from 2002 to 2005. Since then, arrests have slowed as Al Qaeda and other militant groups have become more entrenched in the tribal areas.

Asked in 2006 why the Pakistani government did not move against the leading Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, and his son Sirajuddin, who are based in the tribal areas and have long had links with Al Qaeda, one senior ISI official said it was because Pakistan needed to retain some assets of its own.

Hvordan styre Pakistan

Spørsmålet man sitter igjen med er: hvordan få bukt med ISI, hvilket betyr: hvordan styre Pakistan?

Pakistani analysts and Western diplomats argue that the country will remain unstable as long as the ISI remains so powerful and so unaccountable. The ISI has grown more powerful in each period of military rule, they said.

Civilian leaders, including Bhutto, could not resist using it to secure their political aims, but neither could they control it. And the army continues to rely on the ISI for its own foreign policy aims, particularly battling India in Kashmir and seeking influence in Afghanistan.

«The question is, how do you change that?» asked one Western diplomat. «Their tentacles are everywhere.»

Militant groups slip from Pakistan’s control