Vanlige pakistanere nekter å tro at det var deres egne som med overlegg drepte nærmere to hundre mennesker i Peshawar for en uke siden. De legger skylden på Mossad og India.

Sabrina Tavernise finner en underlig uvilje mot å erkjenne hvem fienden er. Taliban er ikke slik, sier folk. Det var de samme holdningene Hillary Clinton fikk merke under sitt besøk. Hun nådde ikke frem.

In two days of interviews, Pakistanis here said they believed the war had taken a dark new turn, with civilians now bearing the brunt of insurgents’ fury. But that does not mean greater public anger at the Taliban.

The attack was so disturbing that people refused to believe that their countrymen were the culprits. If anything, it was met with disbelief or anger at the government for failing to protect civilians.

«The Taliban talk about morality and women’s dress, but they wouldn’t do such a thing to us,» said Muhamed Orenzeib Khan, a gas station attendant who lost nine members of his family in the blast. «Their target was never the common people.»

The brutality of the bombing and people’s reaction show just how complicated Pakistan’s militancy problem has become. The military is now in the third week of a campaign against the Taliban, and though it has widespread public support, there is still a great reluctance to accept that Pakistanis or fellow Muslims are the ones doing the killing.

Like Iraqis in the early days of their war, many Pakistanis insist that foreigners carry out the most devastating bombings, and turn to conspiracy theories to explain a reality that is otherwise too awful to face.

«It’s not easy to say our countrymen are in any way involved,» said Altaf U. Khan, a professor in the journalism department at the University of Peshawar. «There is a feeling of extreme helplessness: ‘We have no power, so why take responsibility?’ «

Denial brings its own problems, namely the risk of prolonging the insurgency, because people do not know who their enemy is. That seemed to be the case for Muhammed Afzal, an oil trader whose building was damaged in the blast. «I know my tribal people,» he said, sitting on a couch in a room with blown-out windows. «They aren’t strong enough to do something like this.»

Mr. Afzal, who has relatives in Texas and Florida, offered a view of who was responsible, similar to many others interviewed here. «I’m telling you categorically — the people behind this bomb are the Indians and Mossad,» he said, referring to Israel’s intelligence agency. India and Pakistan are archenemies, and India figures into many Pakistani conspiracy theories.

Pakistanis Seek Blame for Bombing

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