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Bangladesh | Treading the Taliban trail

Edited by: Jaideep Saikia Publication: Vision Books ISBN: 81-7094-659-X Price: Rs 495 Pages: 272

india Updated: Oct 28, 2006 17:26 IST

The detalibanisation of Afghanistan in the aftermath of the US led "Operation Enduring Freedom" occasioned not only an "eastward surge of the Jihadi," but also gave rise to home grown Islamism in South and South East Asia.

Manifestation of this has already been felt in Bali, Delhi, Bangkok and Dhaka itself, as fundamentalist forces seek not only to further the "clash of civilisations", but also systematically purge all forms of opposition to their agenda.

A plethora of Islamist groups and personalities such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islam, Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh and "Bangla Bhai" have begun to undertake action in close concert with groups such as the Al-Qaeda, the Jemaah Islamiah and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.

Minorities are being persecuted in Bangladesh, an Islamic code -- on the lines of the Taliban -- is being engineered, and the secular political opposition is being methodically eliminated.

In a dramatic show of their well-entrenched strength on August 17, 2005, Islamist terrorists triggered off as many as 459 timed explosive devices in 63 of Bangladesh's 64 districts within a span of thirty minutes.

The Editor

Jaideep Saikia is a security analyst and terrorism expert. He is also the author of the best selling book, Terror Sans Frontiers: Islamist Militancy in North East India.He had his education in Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehra Dun; St Stephen's College, Delhi and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, the last of which was as a Ford Fellow. Saikia's earlier books include, Contours: Essays on Security & Strategy, Lyrics from the Amygdala & Other Poems and Development Challenges in India: Assam in the 21st Century.

Heralding not only sophistication and networking in the operational behaviour of the Islamists, the explosions of 17/8 have revealed the enormity of the new design, with far-reaching ramifications for the entire region.

Of particular concern to India is the growing stridency of Bangladesh's already pronounced anti-India agenda.

While India-bashing has been a part of Bangladesh's internal political equation since 1975 (after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman), the lethal combination of recent Islamist tendencies and anti-India/anti-Hindu programme has created a volatile mix.

This has found growing expression in its abetment of illegal migration of Bangladeshis into India and its quest for a greater Bangladesh in India's sensitive North East.

Dhaka's continuing denial of the presence of Indian rebel camps on Bangladesh soil and the covert action relentlessly pursued by the Bangladesh intelligence agency, the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, a virtual surrogate of the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence, is testimony to the manner in which the Islamist agenda is influencing Dhaka's policy-making.

The book underlines both the gravity of the Islamist hold in Bangladesh and serves as a wakeup call to this new, dangerous situation on India's eastern borders.

It brings together eleven specialist commentators, including journalists, academicians, retired senior police, army and foreign service officers from Bangladesh, US, Thailand and India, who probe Bangladesh's unmistakable emergence as a state which provides sanctuary, if not active abetment to Islamist terrorists.