Islamist militancy a threat in Bangladesh: US envoy

May 4th, 2009 - 12:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Dhaka, May 4 (IANS) Islamist militancy continues to be a threat in Bangladesh, the US ambassador to this country has said, adding “we do have disturbing indications”.
“We do have disturbing indications. There continues to be threat in Bangladesh and my government does believe that there is a threat (of Islamist militancy),” US ambassador in Dhaka James F. Moriarty told media.

He made the remark a day after former prime minister Khaleda Zia had said there were no such elements in Bangladesh, The Daily Star newspaper reported Monday.

Moriarty issued a written statement and spoke to the media days before Hasina embarks on her North American tour when she hopes to meet President Barack Obama.

Moriarty’s statement was a clear repost to Zia who claimed to have eliminated Islamist militancy during her tenure (2001-06) as the prime minister.

In the written text he read out, Moriarty referred to the arrest of suspected militants and seizure of weapons in Bhola, an island in southern Bangladesh where huge caches of arms have been discovered from a seminary financed by a Britain-based NGO.

Zia had said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was seeking stationing of “foreign troops” under a task force arrangement to tackle terrorism.

Hasina has discussed this proposal with the US officials and with India. It was deliberated upon during the brief visit in February by Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

She has subsequently sought to expand the ambit of the task force to bring in Russia and China. Save the US nod in principle, the effort is still at a nascent stage, security experts say.

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