Terrorism in Bangladesh may find its origin in Pakistan Terrorism | Pakistan | Bangladesh
Collected Representational Image

Terrorism in Bangladesh may find its origin in Pakistan

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 23 Nov 2021, 01:29 pm

Dhaka, November 23: In 2016, people in Bangladesh were shaken after a group of terrorists attacked the famous Holey Artisan Bakery in the posh locality of Dhaka and killed 20 people from five different countries. The assault was carried out by a home-grown group called Jamat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

The post-attack raids on the terrorist group’s revealed that the group was supported by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

The LeT has been working to strengthen the roots of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh, which was formed in 1971 as a secular country. The Dhaka attack could not have happened if the LeT had been dismantled and its commanders punished for carrying out the massacre in Mumbai in 2008.

India and the US had come across strong pieces of evidence of the LeT operatives being the main conspirator in the Mumbai attack, which were shared with Pakistan. Even though there was huge international pressure to act against the LeT, the government in Islamabad did not act and let the LeT have its way. The result did not only lead to aggravation of terror activities in India but engulfed Bangladesh in the fire of extremism as well, subsequently leading to the bakery attack.

There were quite similarities between the 2008 Mumbai attack and the 2016 Dhaka attack. Terrorists had chosen upscale areas, where important government offices, businesses and diplomatic missions were located. The objective was to kill as many people as possible, especially foreigners.

They chose to lay siege to the buildings rather than exploding themselves with bombs and in both cases, the terrorists were well-trained, armed with sophisticated weapons, and could not be neutralised by local police. Army personnel had to be brought in.

Both India and Bangladesh blamed Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) after the respective attacks. The ISI has often been accused of supporting various militant groups, including the LeT, in the form of training, funds, and protection.

Soon after the 2016 Dhaka attack, the Bangladesh government found in the investigations that the JMB militants had gone to Pakistan and then to Afghanistan to receive military training, according to reports. The LeT has been instrumental in training the JMB and radicalization in Bangladesh. Stressing on the role of the ISI besides the LeT, Bangladeshi minister Hasan Ul-Inu had said “Pakistan’s ISI is trying to destabilize Bangladesh from the time Bangladesh became independent and these aspects can not be ignored.”

The JMB and LeT have also been found to have started assisting the Rohingya Muslims, who are living in Cox's Bazar's Teknaf and remote areas of Bandarban in Bangladesh.

Myanmar's former President Htin Kyaw had blamed the Rohingya militant group Aqa Mul Mujahideen (AMM) for attacks on the country’s border posts. The Bangladesh-based AMM has been originated from the Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami-Arakan (HUJI-A), which maintains close relations with the LeT and Pakistan Taliban, reports said.

The AMM is recruiting youths from the Rohingya refugee camps and training them to carry out terror attacks in Bangladesh and India. For over a decade now, there has been strong cooperation among the LeT, JMB, AMM as many youths from Bangladesh are sent to Pakistan for training in arms and weapons.

In 2012, Bangladesh authorities had nabbed Maulana Shabeer Ahmed, a Pakistan-based Rohingya operative. He was found to be working with Rohingya militants in Bangladesh on behalf of Jaish-e- Mohammed (JeM), another Pakistan-based terror group.

Monirul Islam, the joint police commissioner in Dhaka, had in 2014 arrested seven militants from Bangladesh, who had gone to a LeT camp in Pakistan for training. "They also had plans to send other members to undergo training and join the so-called jihad," he said.

A couple of years ago, the JMB had given a slogan of ‘turning Bangladesh into Talibani Afghanistan’. Now, the JMB has pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State. This could not have been possible without the help of Pakistan-based LeT, which has its militants active beyond the Indian subcontinent.

So the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan now is going to have a strong impact on Bangladesh as extremism and militant activities are likely to increase.

Two militant groups in Bangladesh, Jamaat and Hefazat, too have declared that they wanted to create a Taliban state in the country.

Dhaka's Joint Police Commissioner Mahbubur Rahman cleared that Jamaat and Hefazat too had links with the LeT.

Tariq Ahmed Karim, Bangladeshi diplomat and former Ambassador to the United States, said “It will be a messy situation as groups which had laid low because of the pressure that security forces had imposed on them will feel rejuvenated."

The inaction on the part of the Pakistan government has only bolstered the confidence of LeT leaders, who now want to target Bangladesh besides India.