B’desh faces terror threat; militants left to join Taliban: Top cop

By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, Aug 15 (IANS)
Militants from Bangladesh are trying to reach Afghanistan in response to the call given by the Taliban, while a few have been arrested in India, said Md Shafiqul Islam, Commissioner, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).
“The militants may try to attract international attention by detonating a bomb on August 15, even if it’s 2 km away from the venue. We are working with utmost dedication and diligence to prevent any untoward incident from happening,” Shafiqul said.
Taliban insurgents seized Afghanistan’s second and third-biggest cities on Friday, as resistance from the government forces crumbled.
Since 1978, the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami have sent several thousands of people from Bangladesh to Pakistan and after training, they went to Kabul to join the Taliban.
To show support to the Taliban, Hefazat-e-Islam, a radical militant outfit of Bangladesh, had organised a long march and one of its key organisers was Maulana Habibur Rahman, a madrasa principal from Sylhet with a background of working for ‘Taliban-style’ rule in Bangladesh.
Rahman, the principal of Kazi Bazar Madrasa in Sylhet city, was a leader of the banned Islamist militant organisation Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami (Huji) Bangladesh with links to international militant groups.
Rahman had himself revealed the link in an interview with a bulletin titled ‘Islami Biplob’ (Islamic revolution), published on August 20, 1998, with the express purpose of celebrating “the total victory of Taliban and establishment of an Islamic state in Afghanistan”.
The Huji Bangladesh top brass included Shaikhul Hadith Allama Azizul Haq (who passed away in August 2012), who was also the chief of a faction of Islami Oikya Jote, a former partner of the BNP-led alliance; Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish second-in-command (now chief) Muhammad Habibur Rahman of Sylhet; Ataur Rahman Khan of Kishoreganj; Sultan Jaok of Chittagong; Abdul Mannan of Faridpur; and Habibullah of Noakhali — all leaders of Islamic groups in Bangladesh.
Of these, Ataur Rahman Khan was elected as a BNP lawmaker.
Rahman had disclosed the names of people with whom he had travelled to Afghanistan via Pakistan in 1988, where he visited some Taliban militant camps and also met al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Now their third generation is ready to fight against the Afghan government in support of the Taliban, the police told IANS.
The hardline Islamic groups of Bangladesh have been using digital mediums to recruit fighters to take on the government forces in Afghanistan, the DMP Commissioner told the media on Saturday.
As Bangladesh prepares to mourn the killing of its founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the DMP Commissioner warned that August 15 is seen as an important date by the militants to draw attention to their cause.
“The world is cyber-reliant now. Using this medium, the militants are carrying out all kinds of activities and recruiting members,” he said after visiting the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in Dhanmondi, where the father of the nation had been assassinated on August 15, 1975, ahead of the National Mourning Day.
As part of the security measures taken for the National Mourning Day, each person coming to pay homage to the Bangabandhu in Dhanmondi will be thoroughly screened before being allowed to enter the area through an archway.
The police will activate all the checkposts in the area, while a dog squad and a bomb disposal unit will also be on hand.
The entire area will be under CCTV surveillance, said Shafiqul.

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