Bangladeshi soil is increasingly being used for terrorist and for subversive activities by religious extremists, pan-Islamist terrorist groups, and insurgents operating in
India’s Northeast, substantially through the active collusion of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and ’s Directorate General of Field Intelligence (DGFI). Bangladesh
There were grave concerns about the possibility of Islamist extremists in the country acquiring radioactive materials and the technical know-how to build a ‘dirty bomb’, when on May 30, 2003, Bangladeshi police arrested four suspected members of a Islamist group, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, at a house in the northern village of Puiya. Officers also seized a football-size package with markings indicating it contained a crude form of uranium manufactured in
Reportage during the first quarter of 2003 indicates the existence of Al Qaeda operatives in
The broad trends during the year 2002 remained largely unchanged in the first quarter of 2003.
Since the elections of October 2001, and the installation of a new regime headed by Begum Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) and backed by the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), communal tension and Islamist extremist mobilization has risen dramatically. The JeI, which has two Ministers in the new government, and 17 members in Parliament, allegedly receives support from the ISI, including funding and arms flows, as well as technical and training support.
A number of transnational Islamist terrorist groups, including the Al Qaeda, have established a presence in
Various terrorist groups operating in
Although the Government has reacted fiercely to suggestions that
Shortly after the fall of
Asian security services indicated that militants from the Jemaah Islamiah – which is connected to the Al Qaeda and seeks to set up a gigantic Islamic state encompassing
Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and southern Philippines – were also hiding out in these camps, which were set up in the early 1990s to train rebels from the Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar's . The Jemaah Islamiah militants in hiding in southeastern Rakhine State Bangladesh are believed to be mostly citizens of Malaysia and . Singapore
On May 10-11, 2002, representatives of nine Islamist fundamentalist groups, including the HuJI, reportedly met at a camp near Ukhia town and formed the Bangladesh Islamic Manch (Platform). A transnational organization, it includes a group representing the Rohingyas, a Muslim minority in
Myanmar, and the Muslim Liberation Tigers of Assam, a small group operating in ’s northeast. By June 2002, Bangladeshi veterans of the anti-Soviet war in India Afghanistan in the 1980s were reportedly training members of the new alliance in at least two camps in southern . Bangladesh
Evidently, the new right-wing regime, which came to power after the general elections of October 2001, has created a more favourable atmosphere for the operation of various extremist forces in the country. While the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami – which is the major alliance partner of the ruling BNP – may not be directly responsible for subversive or terrorist activities, its inclusion in the coalition government has meant that other radical groups feel they now enjoy protection from the authorities and can act with impunity. The HuJI, for example, is reported to have 15,000 members of whom 2,000 are described as ‘hard core’.
Islamist extremists in
The Asif Reza Commando Force (ARCF), which claimed responsibility for the attack, is essentially a criminal group allied to the Harkat-ul-Jehadi-e-Islami,
(HuJI-BD), which has very close links with the ISI. Bangladesh
The arrest of Aftab Ansari alias Farhan Malik, prime accused in the American Centre attack, led to further disclosures regarding the international linkages between the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and the HuJI based in
Pakistan and . Bangladesh
Aftab Ansari played a key role in the July 25, 2001 abduction of Kolkata-based businessman Partha Pratim Roy Barman, who was subsequently released on July 30, 2001 after reportedly paying a ransom amount of Rupees 37.5 million in
through the Hawala network. Dubai
It was out of this money that Omar Sheikh – convicted by a
court in the Daniel Pearl murder case – is said to have wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the alleged ringleader of the hijackers in the 9/11 multiple terrorist attacks. Pakistan