From Afghanistan to Arakans, militants converge on Dhaka


Dhaka : At least 15 foreign militant organisations were active or are still operating in Bangladesh since 1991 using the country as a safe haven or transit point to infiltrate India and other neighbouring countries, those nabbed have confessed.

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The outfits who found access in Bangladesh are based in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Myanmar, using fake passports, engaging in militancy and funding their operations partly by printing fake Indian rupees and US dollars.

The statements of detained militants also reveal agents of “a Pakistani intelligence agency not only coordinated the militants’ activities in Bangladesh but also provided them with necessary funds and training,” The Daily Star newspaper said quoting official sources.

Statements of several detained foreign and local militants have been recorded by different Bangladeshi intelligence and law-enforcement agencies dealing with militancy, the newspaper said Tuesday.

Operatives of several groups used to visit Bangladesh from Pakistan and then India to commit their activities, while many from India also sneaked into Bangladesh and then visited Pakistan with fake Bangladeshi passports to get training in arms and explosives.

Director General of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Hassan Mahmood Khandkar, said: “Now Bangladesh is no more a comfortable place for local or foreign militants as we constantly remain vigilant and go after militants upon instructions of the government.”

Now some militant groups are generating funds by selling counterfeit Indian currencies in India. The counterfeit currencies, especially Indian rupees and US dollars, are mainly forged in Pakistan and carried to Bangladesh via Dubai.

Then a strong syndicate of militants and criminals supply the fake currencies in India.

“We’ve detected at least three such gangs having around 50 members. One of the gangs is led by Bangladeshi citizen Majumder, one by Pakistani citizen Sarfaraz and the other by another Pakistani named Mohammad Danish,” says a top police official asking not to be identified.

Recently, an international money transfer has been detected through which some fund came from Pakistan to detained Pakistani national Rezwan.

Operatives of different foreign militant groups started visiting Bangladesh and spreading their tentacles with the help of banned local militant group Huji after the end of the Afghan war against Soviet forces in 1991.

This coincided with a government headed by Begum Khaleda Zia taking office.

The militant organisations operated almost undisturbed from 1991 to 1998 and then between 2001 and 2005 under the nose of the local administration, the report said.

“During the BNP-Jamaat rule (2001-06) activities of the foreign militants marked a serious rise under the nose of the administration. Some of them were held and later given a safe passage,” says a law enforcer requesting anonymity.

The organisations are Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Tehrik-e-Jehad-e-Islami-Kashmiri (TJI), Harkat-ul Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Jehadul Islami, Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HuM), Hezbe Islami, Jamiatul Mujahideen, Harkatul Ansar, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), India-based Asif Reza Commando Force (ARCF), Myanmar-based militant groups Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO), Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) and National United Party of Arakan (NUPA).

The names of ARCF and LeT surfaced after the arrest of its leaders Indian citizens Mufti Obaidullah and Moulana Monsur Ali in May last year. The ARCF used to work for LeT.