Connecting Regions of Asia.

9/11 : View From Bangladesh

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On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, many will discuss, and rightly too, the utter futility of the US-led invasions, especially in light of the continued existence of Al-Qaeda, the birth of ISIS,  and the recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
1a Very few, if any, will discuss the successes Vs terrorism achieved by Muslim-majority or Islamic countries themselves.  
For instance, the Western media and analysts will not not talk about Bangladesh’s role in the global war on terror in South Asia or its strong female Muslim leader, Sheikh Hasina. 
Considered a ‘terrorism and violent extremism hotbed’ in the early 2000s, the country has since then made a stunning fightback led by Sheikh Hasina, who leads the country’s largest secular political party. 
Not only did Bangladesh cease to be a safe haven for terrorism under her watch, but even separatist groups from neighbouring India and Myanmar had to stop their operations here and flee. 
Compare this with the US-ally Pakistan, simultaneously one of the biggest beneficiaries of the ‘war on terror’ and one of the biggest backers of Taliban and other terror outfits who like to create havoc on their neighbours. 
Rather, the same Western media and experts often try her portray her as an ‘authoritarian’ who rules with an ‘iron fist’. 
They do not talk about how she flushed out homegrown groups like the Jamaatul Mujaheedin Bangladesh (JMB) and Harkat Ul Jihad (HuJi) and continues to fight relentlessly against new groups inspired by AQ and ISIS like Ansar Al Islam and neo-JMB. Remember President Ashraf Ghani’s unceremonious exit during the fall of Kabul? 
Compare that with Sheikh Hasina, who has faced nineteen attempts on her life, including one where military grade grenades were used by terror group HuJi. She did not budge an inch and did not flinch a bit. If anything, each attack made her resolve to fight even stronger. 
The fact that Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh are not on the top of USA’s ‘go to list’ for partnering up against terorrism shows how skewed their policies and priorities have been in this regard. And it also explains the sheer failure of their adventurisms. 
If countries like USA genuinely care about fighting terrorism, they need to ask their advisors and experts to visit Dhaka and meet Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
( Shah Ali Farhad, a barrister,  is special assistant to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina )

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