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Overview of Terrorism in Bangladesh– USCRT 2017

Published Sep 22, 2018
Updated Jul 10, 2020

An overview of terrorism in Bangladesh as provided vide the US Department of State. Bureau Of Counterterrorism And Countering Violent Extremism, Country Reports on Terrorism 2017 is as per succeeding paragraphs.


2017 Terrorist Incidents: ISIS claimed responsibility for three attacks in March.

On March 17, a suspected suicide bomber snuck into a temporary facility belonging to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), a counterterrorism-focused Special Mission Unit, detonating a suicide vest, killing himself and injuring two RAB officers.
On March 24, an unidentified adult male self-detonated at a police checkpoint near Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, killing only himself.On March 25, eight people were killed and more than 40 injured in two blasts during a raid on a suspected ISIS safehouse in Sylhet.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Bangladesh’s criminal justice system is in the process of fully implementing the Antiterrorism Act of 2009 as amended in 2012 and 2013. Although Bangladesh’s Antiterrorism Act does not outlaw recruitment and travel in the furtherance of terrorism, the broad language of the Act provides several mechanisms by which Bangladesh can implement UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2178 (2014) on addressing foreign terrorist fighters. Despite lacking laws specific to foreign terrorist fighters, Bangladesh arrested suspected foreign terrorist fighters or facilitators of such fighters on other charges under existing law.

Bangladesh cooperated with the United States to further strengthen control of its borders and ports of entry, as called for by UNSCR 2178 (2014). The international community remains concerned about security procedures at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, although the International Civil Aviation Organization certified this airport as 77.46 percent effective in “implementation of aviation safety standard compliance,” more than 26 percentage points higher than a previous audit in 2012. Bangladesh shared law enforcement information with INTERPOL but does not have a dedicated terrorist watchlist. Bangladesh also does not have an interactive Advanced Passenger Information system.

The Rapid Action Battalion and the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, as well as other elements of the Bangladesh Police, continued a campaign of arrests and raids against suspected militants. Many suspects died in these operations, oftentimes described as the result of a “cross-fire,” a euphemism for extrajudicial killings by the police. Observers also believe at least some of the raids were staged by law enforcement.

In early November, a pilot with Bangladesh’s Biman Airlines pled guilty to a conspiracy to crash a passenger jet into the Prime Minister’s residence. The suspect’s father was allegedly part of a group of terrorists that killed themselves by detonating explosives when confronted by Bangladesh security forces in early September. Throughout 2017, Bangladesh security forces claimed credit for foiling dozens of terrorist plots, many of which were reportedly in the final stages of planning.

Bangladesh continued to participate in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance program and received counterterrorism training on building unit capacity in crisis response, evidence collection, crime scene investigation, infrastructure protection, instructional development and sustainment, as well as enhancing cyber and digital investigation capabilities. Bangladesh also received Department of Justice prosecutorial skills training and community policing support. Bangladesh is receiving assistance from the United States in developing an Alert List of militants to better screen for persons of interests at its ports of entry.

The Department of Defense’s PACOM Augmentation Team worked to monitor and counter terrorist messaging through television and online media, as well as in workshops with students in various cities.