The United States Intelligence Community has feared that prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s continuing efforts to “undermine the political opposition in Bangladesh will probably provide openings for transnational terrorist groups to expand their presence in the country.”
The director of National Intelligence, James R Clapper, spoke of the fear in his statement in the US Intelligence Community’s 2016 assessment of threats to US national security on Tuesday.
“The statement reflects the collective insights of the Intelligence Community’s extraordinary men and women,” said the director.
The statement referred to the insistence of Hasina and other government officials that the killings of foreigners are the work of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Bangladesh Jamaat-e Islami political parties and are intended to discredit the government.
In written testimony to a Senate hearing on worldwide threats, Clapper brought into its notice the claims of responsibility from the Islamic State group for 11 high profile attacks on foreigners and religious minorities.
“However, ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and Levant] claimed responsibility for 11 high-profile attacks on foreigners and religious minorities. Other extremists in Bangladesh-including Ansarullah Bangla Team and al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS)-have claimed responsibility for killing at least 11 progressive writers and bloggers in Bangladesh since 2013,” read the statement. – Agencies