Country Report on Terrorism 2009 - Chapter 2 - Bangladesh

Immediately after taking office in January 2009, the Awami League-led government began a crackdown on domestic and transnational terrorist groups. As a result, Bangladesh and India improved their counterterrorism cooperation during the year, which led to the arrest of several senior members of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), an anti-India insurgency group. In November, Bangladesh arrested several extremists alleged to have ties to Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LT), the organization believed responsible for the November 2008 Mumbai attack, Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B), and other extremist groups. The arrests were evidence of the government’s efforts to deny transnational terrorists safe haven and targeting opportunities in Bangladesh.

Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB), the banned domestic Islamist extremist group responsible for a wave of bombings and suicide attacks in late 2005, remained a threat. During the first three months of 2009, authorities arrested several suspected JMB members and uncovered weapons caches that included grenades and chemicals that could be used to make explosives.

In February, the Awami League-led government adopted into law the Money Laundering Prevention Act (MLPA) and the Antiterrorism Act (ATA). These laws formalized ordinances passed in 2008 under the caretaker government. Although not fully compliant with international standards, the MLPA addressed many flaws in the 2002 money laundering law and antiterrorist financing into the Bangladeshi legal system for the first time. The laws facilitated international cooperation and established a financial intelligence unit (FIU) at the Bangladesh Bank. The new laws are part of the effort to enable Bangladesh to enter the Egmont Group, the international body of FIUs that plays a critical role in fighting terrorist financing.

U.S. and Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies cooperated well on several cases related to domestic and international terrorism. Bangladesh worked with the United States to further strengthen control of its borders and land, sea, and air ports of entry.