Overview: The Awami League-led government has been committed to combating domestic and transnational terrorist groups since coming into power in January 2009. Bangladesh continued improving its counterterrorism cooperation with its international partners in 2010. The Bangladesh government's ongoing counterterrorism efforts have denied space to and prevented the unfettered operation of transnational terrorists seeking to establish safe havens in Bangladesh. Denying terrorist groups freedom of movement, increased counterterrorism policing, and other law enforcement efforts have hindered terrorist groups from using Bangladesh as a base of operations or transit point from which to attack the country's neighbors.

In October, Bangladesh law enforcement arrested several individuals alleged to have ties to extremist groups including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) and Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/ Bangladesh (HUJI-B).

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The government passed the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 and was in the process of fully implementing the law, including Bangladesh's first counterterrorist finance provisions, during 2010. The government has made numerous well-publicized seizures and arrests of persons alleged to be associated with terrorist organizations including HUJI-B, LeT, Jama'at-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, and Hizb-ut Towhid. Few convictions appeared to have resulted from those arrests, however, as the judiciary has continued to work slowly on cases involving terrorism due to a lack of prosecutorial capacity and requisite legal provisions.

Countering Terrorist Finance: The Government of Bangladesh passed new anti-money laundering and counterterrorist finance laws in 2009. In 2010, the government was in the process of implementing these provisions, and examining further areas for legislative improvements to the Money Laundering Prevention Act and the Anti-Terrorism Act, actions that reflected Bangladesh's receptivity to international peer review mechanisms and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) International Cooperation Review Group process. In November, the government established the National Coordinating Committee, comprised of all agencies dealing with the anti-money laundering/countering terrorist finance issue, to provide operational level coordination and to develop a national strategy.

Bangladesh is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group against Money Laundering, a FATF-style regional body, and hosted the annual conference in Dhaka. During the typologies conference, the FATF and/or FATF style regional body member countries exchanged information on significant money laundering and terrorist financing cases and operations, and discussed effective countermeasures. Additionally, the Bangladesh Bank (the national bank) and its Financial Intelligence Unit/Anti-Money Laundering Section led the government's effort to comply with the international sanctions regime.

Regional and International Cooperation: U.S. and Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies cooperated well on several cases related to domestic and international terrorism. Bangladesh cooperated with the United States and other international partners to further strengthen control of its borders and land, sea, and air ports of entry. Moreover, the Bangladeshis increased their cooperation with their regional neighbors, most notably with India with whom they increased information sharing, prisoner exchanges, and law enforcement cooperation.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Bangladesh Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry's Islamic Foundation Bangladesh, and USAID have cooperated on Bangladesh's Leaders of Influence (LOI) project. LOI is a four-year old program begun in 2007, designed to enhance the capacity of religious and secular leaders to contribute to national development and democratic reform efforts. In so doing, LOI set out to preserve and promote values of democracy, tolerance, diversity, social harmony, and understanding in Bangladeshi society. Under this program, at least 20,000 community leaders, including at least 10,000 Imams, will have received training and hands-on orientation to programs including democracy and governance, gender equality, health, nutrition, family planning, HIV/AIDS, employment generation, and disaster management. The basic assumption underpinning the program has been that the knowledge of different development aspects, gained through training and exposure, will help these leaders increase tolerance and decrease extremism and opportunities for terrorists to recruit new adherents.


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