Not just sleeping with, but paying the enemy. via AP Exclusive: US sets up new grassroots counter-extremism unit in Pakistan – The Washington Post.
The U.S. has created a new unit in Pakistan that aims to leverage such grassroots efforts by working with local moderates to counter violent extremism — the first of its kind set up by an American embassy anywhere in the world, according to U.S. officials here. The existence of the unit has never before been reported.
Obama tells the world where our nuke sites are but keeps funding Muslims a secret?
The U.S. chose Pakistan as the site for its new venture because it is home to a vast network of Islamist militants who have been fighting U.S.-led troops in neighboring Afghanistan for over a decade and have even organized attacks on American soil.
The three-person unit in the U.S. Embassy public affairs section was established in July. It plans to work with local partners, including moderate religious leaders, to project their counter-extremist messages and push back against the militants’ extensive propaganda machine, said U.S. officials.
It will use TV shows, documentaries, radio programs and posters. It also intends to ramp up exchange programs for religious leaders and public outreach to conservative Muslims who previously had little contact with American officials.
“There are a lot of courageous voices speaking out against extremism here in Pakistan,” said Tom Miller, head of public affairs at the U.S. Embassy. “Our job is to find out how we can amplify those narratives.”
The unit is just now ramping up operations, said officials. It was funded with an initial budget of $5 million that officials hope will grow. Officials declined to provide details on specific programs they are funding or plan to fund, for fear that publicly acknowledging U.S. involvement would discredit their partners.
That’s a major worry in this country where anti-American sentiment is rampant. Any cleric known to be taking U.S. help is likely to be shunned by many. There are other challenges as well. Many among clerics and the public who are considered moderates have mixed views — they often oppose the killing of innocent civilians in Pakistan, but support jihad against U.S. forces in Afghanistan or against neighboring India. Further complicating the situation is alleged Pakistani government support for some militant groups.
Also, the militants are likely to strike back, as indicated by a recent trip the U.S. ambassador made to a madrasa in Faisalabad city to attend a meeting of moderate religious leaders who denounced suicide bombings and other forms of violence.
The ambassador’s visit to the 900-student Jaamia Salafia was unusual because the madrasa teaches a puritanical strain of Islam followed by some Pakistani militant organizations, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, although Zafar said he does not support the group.
Cha-ching. That’s the sound of your tax dollars going to jihadists.
Islamic clerics who have met with the U.S. ambassador recently expressed hope they could steer Pakistanis away from militancy by explaining when holy war is justified. But they also disagreed on when that’s the case.
Zafar, the cleric who hosted the ambassador, said the insurgencies inside Pakistan and in the Indian-ruled part of Kashmir were unjustified. But he backs the Taliban’s fight against U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, a common sentiment inside Pakistan.
“Afghanistan was invaded, and the Taliban are waging jihad to protect their homeland, their freedom and their rights, so I recognize that as jihad,” said Zafar.
It’s a win-win for the jihad.