The arrests of leaders Rahman and Bangla Bhai are leading to further arrests and deaths of al Qaeda linked JMB
The arrests of Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh commanders Abdur Rahman and Bangla Bhai have cascaded into further successful operations to root out the al Qaeda linked terrorist organization. During a series of raids, Bangladesh’s anti-crime and counterterrorism commando force, known as the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), arrested 10 members of JMB, including Abdur Rahman’s son, and killed a bomb making expert in a firefight. The string of operations following the arrest of Rahman is a textbook example of exploiting the arrest of a high-profile terrorist commander.
There is plenty of supporting evidence that Islamist terrorist groups in Bangladesh, including JMB, receives financing from overseas Islamist Non-Government Organizations. Some of these NGOs have intricate links to al Qaeda, including Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, a Saudi based charity. The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Nations have designated several of Al-Haramain’s international branches as an al Qaeda supporting entity for providing “financial, material and logistical support they provided to the al Qaeda network and other terrorist organizations.” Bangladeshi Al- Haramain is on the list. The Kuwaiti based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society is also present in Bangladesh, and its Pakistan and Afghanistan offices have been placed on the U.S. Department of State’s Terrorist Exclusion List.
The Daily Star takes a further look at the links between Rahman, JMB and al Qaeda, based on statements from intelligence officials and JMB members. Excerpted:
The duo [foreign militant trainers, Khaled and Javed] came to Bangladesh to train up Rohingya rebels in 1995 and stayed at Galib’s Nawdapara den in Rajshahi. The foreign militants first trained up Rohingyas and then local militants on Rahman’s orders for four to six years. Sources said their primary target was to send the recruits to the Afghan war front as a backup force. The training ultimately focused on rearing militants inside the country following a decision by Galib and Rahman at a meeting at Sadrul Alam’s house in Chittagong in 1998, investigators said… Sources said Rahman went to Saudi Arabia for higher studies at Madina University on Galib’s recommendation… Galib, at an Ahab conference in Rajshahi in 1997, introduced a number of guests from India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives, Bhutan and Sri Lanka…The guests include Pakistani Nasser al Rahmani, an alleged leader of Saudi Hizbullah, who carries a bounty of $5 million declared by FBI for his link to al Qaeda… A leader of Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) in 2004 told The Daily Star about 20 of their leaders and activists worked with al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. They also said VCDs given to JMJB recruits contained Laden’s recorded speeches and footage on warfare at al Farooque camp in Afghanistan. A team of The Daily Star obtained one such VCD titled “The Solution, the Preparation” recorded in the once Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. The 50-minute disc was screened for new JMJB members at Razakar Ramjan Kaya training camp in Bagmara in 2004. “Bangla Bhai showed his new recruits video footage on Afghan wars and mobilised support for an Islamic movement,” said a police official asking not to be named… The JMJB sources had also claimed 44 Bangladeshis once served Laden in Afghanistan, some of them as his bodyguards… The whereabouts of most of these Afghan returnees are unknown, but they include JMB chief Abdur Rahman, a JMJB source then said.
India has already provided evidence to the Americans of the scores of terrorist camps being run in Bangladesh by al Qaeda with the connivance of fundamentalist forces and certain sections of the Bangladesh Government during the recent visit of US President George Bush. The US administration was also informed about the clandestine help being provided to these terrorist groups by Pakistan.
After the disclosures of the Indian Government, the US administration is believed to have applied pressure on Bangladesh leading to the arrest of Siddiq-ul-Islam alias Bangla Bhai of the Jagrata Muslim Janata of Bangladesh (JMJB) by Bangladesh Police.
The arrests and subsequent exploitation of intelligence on JMB is a major victory in the War on Terror which is largely being ignored by the Western Media. Perhaps Bangladesh is not a “sexy” location to cover the fight against al Qaeda, but the success there is certainly noteworthy. al Qaeda and its affiliates thrive at exploiting the security situations in failed and semi-failed states (or what Thomas P.M. Barnett refers to as the “gap” and “seam” states, respectively.) That Bangladesh is taking the threat of JMB seriously, and acting to resolve the situation without outside influence is an encouraging development.