Nytt

Mens norske medier er ivrige etter å understreke at USA og Vesten har støttet diktaturene i Midtøsten, snakker de mindre om alliansen med Pakistan. Den er under alvorlig press fordi pakistanske myndigheter støtter terrorgrupper som bekjemper ISAF i Afghanistan.

Forholdet er kommet i akutt krise siden en amerikansk tjenestemann Raymond A. Davis skjøt to væpnede pakistanere på åpen gate i Lahore. USA har forlangt ham utlevert, men pakistanske myndigheter har gjort tvert imot: De har avslørt at Davis er CIA-agent, og vil stille ham for retten.

Ved sin handling fyrer myndighetene opp under paranoiaen om at USA har infiltrert Pakistan og står bak det meste av dævelskapen som daglig utfolder seg, inkludert selvmordsbomber som sprenger gravfølger og moskeer. Konspirasjonsteoriene er så mange og utbredt at folk tror hva det skal være.

Mark Mazotti har en interessant sak om bakgrunnen for Davis’ arbeid. Han var i Pakistan for å kartlegge gruppen Lashkar e-Taiba. Denne ble skapt av Pakistans mektige sikkerhetstjeneste ISI, først til bruk mot russerne i Afghanistan, deretter som Pakistans forlengede arm i indisk Kashmir. Pakistan ville sikre seg at det ikke var separatister, men deres folk som førte an i kampen.

Men det siste tiåret er Lashkar blitt stadig mer jihad-orientert. Det har reorientert seg og anser nå hele verden som scene for en global jihad. Og fortsatt har Lashkar myndighetenes støtte. Det betyr at USA risikerer å havne i alvorlig konflikt med Pakistan, hvis Lashkar skulle lykkes å gjennomføre et terrorangrep i et vestlig land.

I Islamabad gjør disse bekymringene ikke inntrykk. Pakistan er opptatt av sluttspillet i Afghanistan. Man vet at USA er på vei ut, og venter bare på å sette inn Haqqani-nettverket og Lashkar for å sikre seg kontroll. Dette er Pakistans primære mål, og alt annet er sekundært.

The C.I.A. team Mr. Davis worked with, according to American officials, had among its assignments the task of secretly gathering intelligence about Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant “Army of the Pure.” Pakistan’s security establishment has nurtured Lashkar for years as a proxy force to attack targets and enemies in India and in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. These and other American officials, all of whom spoke only on condition of anonymity, are now convinced that Lashkar is no longer satisfied being the shadowy foot soldiers in Pakistan’s simmering border conflict with India. It goals have broadened, these officials say, and Lashkar is committed to a campaign of jihad against the United States and Europe, and against American troops in Afghanistan.

During a visit to Islamabad last July, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared Lashkar a “global threat,” a statement that no doubt rankled his Pakistani hosts.

And so a group that Pakistan has seen for years as an essential component of its own national security, and that American counterterrorism officials could once dismiss as a regional problem, has emerged as a threat that Washington feels it can no longer ignore.

Men ISI og maktstrukturen likte ikke at CIA blandet seg inn i deres saker. De opplevde kartleggingen av Lashkar på pakistansk jord som en innblanding i deres affærer. Pakistanerne godtar ikke amerikanernes spilleregler.

Det er noe av samme problem som med terrorister: man opererer ikke med samme spilleregler, reglene er inkommensurable. At Pakistan dermed inntar fiendens posisjon bekymrer ikke Pakistan. Det har krigen i Afghanistan som utpressingsmiddel.

Den utålelige situasjonen gjør at USA en dag kan komme til å ofre Afghanistan. Det finnes ingen rasjonell løsning på dilemmaet Pakistan: landet har atomvåpen, og den senere tid har landet prioritert å få mange flere.

Men et kaotisk lovløst Pakistan i hendene på terrorgrupper er heller ikke noe scenario USA kan snu ryggen til.

Because Lashkar has long been nurtured by Pakistan’s spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, American espionage operations against the group are freighted with grave risks, and are not viewed kindly by Pakistani spies.

C. Christine Fair, a Pakistan expert and Georgetown University professor who closely studies Lashkar’s operations, said that the group was founded by Pakistan’s government in the 1980s to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, a war that that ISI fought in close alliance with the C.I.A. As that war wound down, Professor Fair said, then President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan began redeploying Lashkar fighters to Kashmir because he feared that Kashmiri independence groups might create a separate state in the mountainous region now controlled by India, rather than weld it to Pakistan. The ISI continued to nurture Lashkar, along with others, as a counterweight to the separatist groups.

Officially, Lashkar was banned by President Pervez Musharraf’s government in 2002, and declared a terrorist organization three years later by the United Nations. But it hardly operates like a group in hiding.

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Lashkar’s charismatic leader, gives regular sermons in Lahore on Fridays, denouncing what he calls the imperialism of the United States, Israel and India while flanked by guards. A stocky man with a wild beard, Mr. Saeed has been placed under house arrest at various times in the past 10 years, but in 2009 the Lahore High Court quashed all charges against him and set him free.

That same court has now been assigned to determine Mr. Davis’s fate.

En amerikansk ekspert gir et skremmende eksempel på hvordan Lashkar bruker fremmede lands muslimer til å infiltrere, i dette tilfelle indiske muslimer på opphold i Thailand.

Professor Fair, the Georgetown expert on Lashkar, said the group has set up sophisticated networks throughout Asia to train dozens of sleeper operatives for attacks in India.

In Thailand, for instance, Muslim recruits arriving from India are handed fake Pakistani passports for travel to Pakistan, where they go for several weeks of training, according to Professor Fair. After the training, the operatives go back to Thailand, reclaim their Indian passports and return to India.

Flytende

Situasjonen er flytende. Det finnes ingen klare grenser lenger mellom terrorgruppene. Eksperter tror Lashkar kan ha flere fraksjoner. Samtidig er det uklare grenser i forhold til al Qaida. Spørsmålet er da om myndighetenes velvillige holdning til Lashkar også omfatter al Qaida.

Dette sammen med amibsjoner om global jihad og konkrete skritt for å virkeliggjøre det, gjør situasjonen uhyre labil og uoversiktlig.

But experts on Lashkar say that in recent years the group has expanded the focus of its operations, perhaps because it has felt restricted by the ISI, or perhaps a sign that it was splitting into factions with competing agendas.

Whatever the reason, American intelligence officials believe that hundreds of Lashkar operatives now operate inside Afghanistan, and have teamed with other militant groups to attack American troops. In February 2010, a Lashkar assault on a cluster of guesthouses in Kabul killed 18 people, including a number of Indian doctors and other foreigners.

Lashkar has also bolstered fund-raising networks throughout Europe, especially in Germany and Britain, and European counterterrorism officials believe Lashkar is considering attacks in Western capitals similar to the devastating raids by the group in Mumbai, India, in November 2008.

Lashkar var også inne i bildet som bakmann for Colin Headleys planer om å angripe Jyllands-Posten.

Amerikanerne har allerede fått et sjokk. De trodde at Pakistans Taliban var regional, men så viste det seg at gruppen sto bak Faisal Shahzad som forsøkte å sprenge en bilbombe på Times Square.

Seth G. Jones, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation who until last month worked on Afghanistan and Pakistan issues for United States Special Operations Command, compared the expansion of Lashkar’s operations with the broadening ambitions of the Pakistani Taliban, a group that had focused exclusively on attacks inside Pakistan until it dispatched Faisal Shazad in a failed mission last May to set off a van full of explosives in Times Square.

En slik bombe hvor sporene peker tilbake til Pakistan kan eskalere konflikten mellom USA og Pakistan til et nytt nivå. Obama-administrasjonen vil måtte foreta seg noe drastisk.

But an American intelligence review late last year found that it was becoming harder to compartmentalize the distinct militant groups in Pakistan, because their membership and operations were blending into a murky stew; that was making it increasingly difficult to determine whether Pakistani support for groups like Lashkar might also be aiding Al Qaeda.

Det snakkes om at USA er engasjert militært i to muslimske land, men som analyser viser: problemene stikker mye dypere, og Pakistan er i dag et større og mer uhåndterlig problem enn Afghanistan.

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