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Bin Laden's Bangladesh connection

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    Bin Laden's Bangladesh connection

    Nightmare scenario as bin Laden's Bangladesh connection unravels

    Josy Joseph in New Delhi

    The presence of a large number of Bangladeshis among the infiltrators in Kargil had startled the Indian defence establishment even then. But that was just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Osama bin Laden, who is already visibly active inside Bangladesh, is suspected to be playing a crucial role in the emergence of that country as a key base for the Islamic militants.

    There is no concrete proof yet on this score. But cornered by the increasing American pressure, the international fugitive could be finding Bangladesh an ideal place to shift operations too. He could also find popular support there, sources speculate.

    One of the best kept secrets of the Kargil war was the presence of a substantial number of Bangladeshis in the enemy ranks. It had initially bewildered the Army. Further investigations proved that they may have been recruited from Bangladesh itself. Though no direct evidence exist to prove that bin Laden's men recruited them, the over bearing influence of bin Laden on the militants who fought the war has forced the Army to wake up to an entirely new dimension to terrorism in India.

    According to statistics compiled by the Army, about 10 per cent of the militants who fought along with the Pakistani Army in Kargil early this year were from Bangladesh.

    The Army already has indications about the increasing influence of Laden among pro-Islamic fundamentalist groups in Bangladesh. There are several splinter groups which are working in harmony with bin Laden in that country, sources said. The increasing influence of these pan-Islamic forces have already been noticed in several madrasas and some other religious institutions in that country, sources said.

    Adding to this is the startling shift in the infiltration route of militants to India, including those going to Kashmir and to the Northeast. According to sources, in the last couple of years there was evidence of the militants infiltrating through Nepal. After the Army blocked off most of the border with Nepal, the militants are increasingly using the border with Burma, Bhutan, and Bangladesh to infiltrate into India.

    In fact, in the last six months, with the increased presence of the Army along the Line of Control in Kashmir, the terrorists going to Kashmir too are using the Northeast as the main infiltration route. Sources said the large influx of Muslims from Bangladesh is also being used by militants to enter India under cover.

    Militant groups in the Northeast are also being contacted by Islamic fundamentalists for furthering their influence in the region. Sources said though no evidence is available of the United Liberation Front of Assam receiving any direct funding from bin Laden, it has been confirmed that it is receiving assistance from the Inter Services Intelligence. "Why would they mind taking assistance from bin Laden?" asks a senior official. A tie-up between bin Laden and the ULFA can open a Pandora's box for the Indian defence establishment which is already facing a severe resource crunch.

    It is already known that the ULFA has camps in Bangladesh, Burma and Bhutan. There are about 20 camps inside Bhutan sheltering about 2,500 ULFA activists. The Army believes that ISI is controlling the ULFA activities from Bangladesh. According to available information, ISI arranges hawala transactions for ULFA to buy arms from the South East Asian market. The consignments are offloaded at Teknaf on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border and then taken to Myanmar with the help of the Arakan National Army. It enters India through Aizawl.

    Some of these weapons find its way to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and some even reaches Northern India. If bin Laden too pitches in to assist ULFA it would be a nightmare for the country's security agencies.


    Whatever it is, your dreams won't come true. Osama's days are numbered. USA/Israel will take him out soon. In fact, Osama could be a problem for Musharaf, and in a puny lil country like Pakistan a small unrest is good enuf to mess it up big time. Not to mention the Shia/Sunii secterian problems.


      Osama is only one man. When he goes there will be a hundred more Osamas born. Paki-haters like you Reagan, it's your days which are numbered. This is the age of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs that can be carried in a suitcase. Time for reason not confrontation. Believe it.