Bangladesh regrets United States proposal to deploy combat troops in war ravaged Afghanistan, instead mulls over sending military advisers for “engagement in restoration of peace and stability”.
United States sought engagement of Bangladesh in the restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan and will render training facilities to Afghan security-and law-enforcement agencies, a statement of the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.
It clarifies recent media reports on the meeting between Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni and US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard C. Holbrooke held in New York on September 23.
Days after the publication of the news, the dreaded Taliban warned Muslim majority Bangladesh against sending troops to “Islamic neighbor” Afghanistan.
The authoritative terror-watch, SITE intelligence group broke the news quoting a jihadist website, in careful words argues that Bangladesh leaders have enough Islamic knowledge not to involve “in the fight against Islam and against the Afghan people by sending a few hundred soldiers to Afghanistan.”
Chris Blackburn, Jihad watchdog based in London told this correspondent that the threat does appear to be genuine. The Bangladesh government’s policies to address Islamist extremism has been very pragmatic, he lauded.
The government also indicated that Bangladesh will look at the scope of providing training facilities to various Afghan entities, the statement syndicated by wire service United News of Bangladesh said.
It assured United States that Bangladesh believes in peace and it will do whatever it can to restore peace in South Asia, especially in Afghanistan.
Sharing with ruling party advisory council members on Saturday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government did not receive any formal proposal from the US about sending troops.
Bangladesh combat troops were deployed in Haiti (1994) and Kuwait (1990) at the request of Washington, which invited public interest litigation in the superior court here.
Two days after the Taliban cautioned Bangladesh, the United States intensified its discussion on Bangladesh’s engagement in Afghanistan for global peace and stability, a senior American diplomat Nicholas Dean of US embassy in Bangladesh briefed reporters last Thursday, reports Bdnews24.com.
In an early request by international community, Bangladesh is providing economic and development assistance and is engaged in rural education program for children, medical doctors in health centers and micro-finance for disadvantaged population in the troubled Kandahar province.
Bangladesh will soon become the fifth Muslim nation after Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Jordan to join the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) coalition troops fighting the Jihadists. Bangladesh is the largest contributor of troops to the United Nations peacekeeping missions, followed by Pakistan.
With the planned withdrawal of Canada, Poland, United States and United Kingdom between 2011- 2015, the coalition forces needs assurance that adequate international troops are replaced to ensure security of the beleaguered Afghans from the surge of Taliban attacks.
Blackburn believes that the majority of the people of this country have a strong history of rejecting Islamic radicalism and religious tolerance. Therefore, Bangladesh should seize the opportunity to help the crisis, he recommends.