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Den europeiske eliten har motstridende følelser overfor WikiLeaks, og det i seg selv sier mye om hvorfor WikiLeaks ikke er Pentagon Papers. Afghanistan er ikke Vietnam, slik Irak heller aldri ble det. Vi lever i en annen epoke. I terrorens, ekstremismens, paranoiaens, nihilismens, eskatologiens tidsalder. I æraen til skjeggete menn som drømmer om endetiden: slutten på denne verden.

Pakistan er et laboratorium.

En forklaring på Pakistans innblanding i Afghanistan er ønsket om «strategisk dybde» og frykten for India. Det lyder plausibelt, selv om det gir seg kyniske utslag. Men det er overflatisk. Pakistans motiv for å støtte Taliban stikker dypere. Det dreier seg om en støtte til islamiseringen av samfunnet, til avvisning av Vesten, og derfor må Pakistan erobres innenfra. Det spiller ingen rolle om Mariott hotell eller hotell i Mumbai sprenges i luften. Her gjelder ikke rasjonelle regler: arkitektene bak denne strategien kan godt finne på å ofre sine egne.

Dette blir for sinnsykt for opplyste europeere, som velger å legge lokk på scenariene. Men mye tyder på at Pakistan er blitt et laboratorium for en ekstremisme som har som mål å overta hele landet, og støtten kommer innenfra systemet.

Det dreier seg ikke om Talibaner og Al Qaida langs grensen, det dreier seg om Pakistans viktigste provins: Punjab. Her er radikaliseringen i full sving, og det skjer nettopp i det tussmørket som gjør silhuettene vanskelig å identifisere, men avtrykkene er tydelige nok til at man ser at ekstremistene har støtte på høyt hold.

In Pakistan, far from the isolated mountains of the tribal belt where the Taliban first appeared, an extremist network has taken root in the country’s heartland.

The Punjab province is home not only to 80 million of Pakistan’s 175 million citizens, but also to an increasingly dangerous web of Punjabi militants who have teamed up with the Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban, and al-Qaida.

In southern Punjab province, militancy is not a new phenomenon, but it is an ever-evolving one.

The city of Multan is known for its Sufis and saints, and its shahids, or martyrs. So-called Martyrs Street sits among a cluster of rubble-strewn lanes housing families who have lost a male relative to jihad, or «holy war.»

Fathers and sons fought in the jihad against the Soviets during their occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, and later against the Indians in Kashmir, the Himalayan region disputed between India and Pakistan.

Then, the Punjab’s men joined the fight when Pakistan’s government was promoting jihad as a state policy in the 1980s and 1990s.

Today, a new generation in southern Punjab is being raised on a brand of Islam that has effectively declared war against the government and the people of Pakistan.

Fra NRK og andre medier får vi hele tiden høre at USA og Vesten provoserer med sine angrep på muslimer og et muslimsk land. Deres ekstremisme er en reaksjon og derfor forståelig. Men dette er en ufarliggjøring av en trussel som er langt mer alvorlig.

– Det oppdras en generasjon i en form for islam som har erklært krig mot regjeringen og folket i Pakistan.

Det er alvorlige ord.

Vi snakker om en bred bevegelse, som driver en systematisk kampanje. Mange av madrassaene underviser i deobandi-islam, som er subkontinentets svar på wahhabismen i Saudi-Arabia.

Southern Punjab Is Different

Khaled Ahmed is one of the foremost experts on Pakistan’s militant groups. He says extremists have gained a foothold in southern Punjab because governance is weak and feudal landowners have run things. But the sway of landowners is being supplanted by increasingly influential Muslim clerics.

«You have to work in tandem with the big person there. And that big person is being replaced by the clergy, the clergy which is ‘weaponized.’ So that is why the south Punjab is such a breeding ground,» Ahmed says.

A senior law enforcement official in Multan says 19 mosques and madrassas, or religious schools, are known to be patronized by activists suspected of terrorist activities. In the Multan district alone, 63 people are under strict surveillance. A dozen more are targets in ongoing anti-terrorism investigations.

Punjab is home to nearly half of Pakistan’s 20,000 madrassas. Hundreds of seminaries in Multan follow the hard-line Deobandi school of Islam, not unlike the puritanical Wahhabism practiced by al-Qaida’s founders.

Uten motstand

Motstanden mot ekstremistene er svak. Det sivile samfunn er svakt, og myndighetene backer ikke advokater, eller lærere eller journalister som våger å stå opp mot radikaliseringen. Myndighetene snur ryggen til dem, og gir ekstremistene fritt spillerom. Derfor kan de radikale bli ledende, selv om befolkningen i bunn og grunn er mot dem. De teller ikke.

Angrep på sufi-helligdom

Den 1. juli sprengte to selvmordsbombere seg i lufta i helligdommen til minne om sufi-helgenen Hazrat Syed Ali bin Usman Hajweri, populært kalt Data Ganj Bakhsh, i Lahore. Minst 37 mennesker ble drept og et stort antall såret. Angrepet sjokkerte pakistanerne. Å angripe troende inne i en sufi-helligdom er et overgrep og en forbrytelse som er vanskelig å tenke seg. Da gjelder ingen regler lenger. Ikke noe er hellig. Og det er budskapet, og myndighetene kan ikke beskytte de troende. I stedet overtar spekulasjoner, paranoia, og konspirasjonsteorier. Den pakistanske eliten er selv med på å fyre opp under forestillinger om at USA står bak all djevelskapen.

he July 1 bombing of the country’s most important Sufi shrine, which killed dozens in the provincial capital, Lahore, got prominent mention at one particular Multan mosque.

While authorities suspect Islamist extremists, in his sermons, Maulana Muhammad Kafeel Bukhari was quick to blame the Americans. Bukhari said the double suicide attack that left dozens dead was the work of the security firm Blackwater, a private, U.S.-based security company now known as Xe Services.

In Pakistan, conspiracy theories that blame the West for the bloody turmoil in the country are promoted in the mass media and shared by many members of the Pakistani public.

«It’s so easy to blame the Taliban in southern Punjab,» Bukhari told a couple hundred of the faithful. «But I say it’s been carried out by the enemies of this country: the foreign intelligence services, to create anarchy and to break Pakistan up,» Bukhari said.

Asked later about the claim, Punjab’s governor, Salmaan Taseer, scorned the idea that Blackwater was involved as «a load of rubbish.»

Målestokk

Salmaan Taseer er faren til Aatish Taseer, forfatteren til den glimrende boken Min muslimske reise (Versal forlag). Salmaan er på mange måter hovedpersonen i boken, det er ham sønnen forsøker å nå, både geografisk og mentalt. Men Salmaan er svært ambivalent til sønnen som har vokst opp i India, og han inntar klassiske selvforsvarsholdninger etter 9/11: han som drikker whisky inntar plutselig islamistiske holdninger: Vesten er mot islam osv.

Han ble senere valgt til guvernør for Bhuttos parti, og nå blir han møtt av krefter som sier det er Blackwater som sprenger sufi-moskeer i Lahore i lufta! Galskapen er komplett. Politikk blir et spørsmål om absurditeter, og folk tror hva det skal være.

Budskapet faller på fruktbar jord. Unge halvstuderte menn tror mer enn gjerne på konspirasjonsteoriene. Hvorfor skulle de ikke det når lignende ting stadig antydes i vårt eget NRK? Litt mindre outrert.

But Bukhari’s sermon falls on receptive young ears. Ali Mardan, 23, says he believes the United States is supporting local terrorists to destabilize Pakistan and seize its nuclear weapons.

Mardan says Washington is «afraid that if any religious man becomes a prime minister or president or he takes over the government, he will create a lot of problems for the U.S.»

Mohammad Noman, 17, says an Islamic state like Pakistan has a duty to prepare for jihad «to defend the faith.» An aspiring cleric, Noman says militant groups, although banned, must continue to train.

«We consider this training and this preparation for jihad is something good. And it is for our own protection. It is not for terrorism. It is just for our own defense,» Noman says.

Når budskapet er sådd og blomstrer står væpnede militser klar til å gi de unge ufaglærte, arbeidsløse «sysselsetting». Militsene blir svaret på mange problemer: sosiale og eksistensielle.

Usman Anwar, a senior police investigator in Punjab, says there are as many as 30 armed outfits in the province. Most are splinter groups from organizations that are now outlawed: Sipah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangwi, and Jaish-e-Mohammad, the alleged recruiter of Faisal Shahzad, who sought to detonate a bomb in Times Square on May 1.

The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, gave these groups renewed fervor.

«Al-Qaida told them, ‘Jihandis, they have beaten Russia, and now it’s time for the West to have a taste of its own medicine.’ Now they had a greater cause. So the breeding ground was already there, and al-Qaida selected these groups,» Anwar says.

Anwar says the groups attack Pakistani targets because they regard their government as a tool of the U.S. He says his many interrogations of young militants start out as debates about perceived international injustices and move to local inequities.

«They see a government which is not efficient; they see a road which is broken. They were school dropouts. And at the end of the day, they end up outcasts of this society, and they got recognition when they joined the Taliban,» says Anwar.

Den pakistanske regjering som brikke i USAs spill, det er hva NRK gjentar til stadighet. Er det så rart at analfabeter i Punjab tror det?

Disse unge tilhører de laveste trinn på den sosiale stigen. Det hadde passet sosioøkonomiske forklaringer om det var her rekrutteringen skjedde. Men det er ikke tilfelle. Det finnes også en rekruttering blant de vellykkede, blant de kvalifiserte, faglærte, de med utdannelse. Det snakkes det ikke like mye om, for disse gruppene er flinkere til å forkle sin ekstremisme.

Local analyst Haider Abbas Gardezi says a distressed place like the southern Punjab is a Petri dish for extremism.

«Militancy grows in those pockets where there are deprivations, where there is injustice, where there is lack of education. So basically it’s a question of backwardness,» Gardezi says.

But Ayesha Saddiqa, a Pakistani security analyst and visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University, says it’s not just madrassas in underprivileged places that are providing recruits. Young, tech-savvy engineers from government-run schools are quietly being pulled into the militant network, too.

«They are co-existing with other social forces as well, and that is the trick. You don’t attract attention so everyone can say, ‘Oh no — there’s no Talibanization.’ «

Det er tilsiget av disse ressurssterke som gjør de ekstreme gruppene farlige. De kan det sosiale og politiske spillet. De forstår hvilke motstandere som er farlige, og vet å uskadeliggjøre dem. Det går ut over de få modige sjelene som tør å stå imot ekstremistene. Og det kan besegle Pakistans skjebne.

Parliamentarian Sheikh Waqas Akram says groups may be banned, but they remain brazen. He says that in his district of Jhang, the outlawed group Sipah-e-Sahaba openly flaunts its identity with flags and gun-toting bodyguards. Akram says you wouldn’t know that the group’s leader is on a government watch list.

«That man is moving freely, attending funerals, going to madrassas, going to the deputy commissioner’s office, going to the police chief’s office. What is this?» Akram asks.

Author Khaled Ahmed says these groups thrive because it suits the ruling party of the province, the Pakistan Muslim League, led by the country’s main opposition figure, Nawaz Sharif. Sharif’s brother is the chief minister of Punjab. Ahmed says the Sharifs are pulled in two directions.

«They are very much joined at the hips with the clergy and have grown up like that. But they have grown up relating to outside powers like the United States, and grown up knowing that secular societies probably are more tolerant because they are not fanatics,» Ahmed says.

«So there is this ideological confusion in the family,» he adds.

In the aftermath of the attack on Lahore’s Sufi shrine, mainstream clerics have accused the Punjab government of being soft on extremist groups, while protesters have taken to the streets of the Punjab capital decrying terrorism.

The two men most responsible for administering the province — Gov. Salmaan Taseer and Chief Minister Shabaz Sharif — have been at odds over how to treat the growing menace.

A spokesman for Sharif insists that he is taking a tough stance, but in March the chief minister pleaded with the militants to «spare Punjab» because his party shares their anti-Western attitude.

Taseer, who is from the ruling People’s Party, called that «craven.»

«If you don’t take a strong stance against these people right now and nip in the bud, they’ll start spreading. You can’t allow them to grow. They’re like a cancer virus,» Taseer says.

Det er de radikale som setter dagsorden, og de etablerte tør ikke utfordre dem. Når broren til Nawaz Sharif forsikrer de ekstreme at Den muslimske liga står på deres side i kampen mot Vesten, selger de ut det som er igjen av motstandskraft i Pakistan.

Pakistans opplever et sannhetens øyeblikk, og har gjort det lenge. Fienden står innenfor murene, og strekker ut sine tentakler langt ut over havet, til Europa og USA.

In Pakistan, Old Militants Create New Alliances
by JULIE MCCARTHY

Prime Minister of Pakistan held Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider Khan, left, attends a rally organized by Kashmiri militants groups with Syed Salahuddin, center, the head of Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen, and Rasheed Turabi in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani Kashmir on Tuesday, July 13, 2010. The top political official in Pakistani-held Kashmir has promised to fight India for control of the disputed territory.

A Pakistani rescue worker helps a woman injured in a suicide attack, arrives at a local hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan on Thursday, July 15, 2010. An apparent suicide bombing near a bus terminal in Pakistan’s Swat Valley killed five people and wounded at least 58 on Thursday, officials said, a sign that Islamist militants remain active in the northwest region despite a massive army operation.