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Beleaguered US envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Hollbrooke (of Kosovo fame) reportedly did request Bangladesh foreign minister for troops to Afghanistan.

Apart from its merit, the request reflects the desperate situation faced by the American led NATO occupation troops. Also perhaps a presumed vulnerability of Bangladesh to earn few brownie points from the US. But no need for a rocket scientist, even a junior student of diplomacy would know that powerful countries conduct foreign affairs and collect friends only in national interest and as long as needed. There is no such thing as fidelity. Forget the incestuous relationship enjoyed by Israel. That is an aberration of extreme rarity.


Coming back to Afghanistan where the mightiest power (military power that is) leads a 40-odd contributing countries to fight a few thousand Talibans where is the need for a few hundred Bangladesh troops? What role for them? Certainly not to escort school kids home!

So are they needed to put a “Muslim face” on a “Christian” campaign (Bush’s crusade) to civilise the “uncivilised” Afghans? Or does the US envoy assume that Bangladesh troops are available as mercenary troops on hire to the highest bidder? And at cheaper rate too!

Yes, Bangladesh is a major contributor of troops to the UN peace keeping missions. But where is the peace to keep in Afghanistan? The contrary fact is: Afghanistan is deeply troubled. Only the proverbial fools would rush in where angels fear to tread. The well meaning and altruistic “angels” of NATO went in, messed up and made things even worse; now they are calling for help from any unsuspecting source. Does Bangladesh has to be naive or vulnerable? None I believe.

What difference could a Bangladesh contingent make when the blueblood “super troops” from America, joined by Britain, Germany and Canada proved incompetent and utterly clueless? Now one by one allies are abandoning the ship. America feels abandoned and so is in search of new “partners” even if from the “third world”! The US president already announced plans to planning to start exiting by mid 2011. The cheerleader Bush is having the last laugh leaving incumbent Obama such a precarious choice to “win victory”. But is there a simple choice? No. Afghanistan has been tribal territory and tribal retaliation can be unforgiven and unremitting as history proved time and again.

Richard Hollbrooke we know is no amateur diplomat. That is why I am curious, indeed very curious. Does he take poor puny Bangladesh for granted? And naive too? What made him judge that Bangladesh will jump on the US bandwagon of a losing if not lost war for a pat on its back or worse still for a few dollars more?

No way. A country that gave a sea of blood to win liberty could not go and fight to kill forces resisting foreign occupation. A military dictator had sent troops to the First Gulf War. A democratic government has better and wiser things to do. If necessary a look at Pakistan torn apart by sectarian violence and slaughter of civilians and militants alike should bring second thoughts. How strange that Pakistan’s military ruler had plunged into the American war on Afghanistan. Now the people of Pakistan are paying the price — a very stiff price indeed. For what? A few billion dollars worth military hardware to fight someone else’s war and slaughter thousands of troops as canon fodder? What a shame! What travesty of democracy!

Indeed Bangladesh has enough on its plate at home to counter militant extremism. Why should the country invite and import even more?

13 Responses to “Bangladesh troops to Afghanistan: should we feel flattered?”

  1. Russel Ahmed.

    I would like to congratulate Mr. Zakir Husain for his outstanding article on Afghanistan troops to Bangladesh. Our soldiers cannot be sent to the hellhole called, Afghanistan.

  2. musab

    Have we forgotten Abu Gharib and Guantanamo Bay? Dr. Afia Siddique or Bagram? All of these are gifts to the world from America. As regards sending troops to Afghanistan, the answer is a big NO!

  3. Bappi Lahiri

    Very well thought out article and a an reply on our part to the US’ request. Bangladeshis cannot afford to import Islamic extremism to Bengal. We have floods, poverty, corruption — enough on our plate to no to sending troops to Afghanistan.

  4. Abu Saeed Khan

    Bangladesh government may consider to translate “Deshey Bideshey” of Syed Mujtoba Ali into English and upload it in the web. It will help the NATO troops, as well as their political masters, to understand Afghanistan. This is the best way Bangladesh can contribute to the Afghan peace process. The pen is mightier than the sword (and possibly than the Drone).

  5. moon

    Dipu Moni should be mature enough to tackle these seasoned diplomats.

  6. kazi

    America is making this demand while it is in a quagmire in Afghanistan being chased by a group of ill-equipped mujahideen and its own Western allies are abandoning it. It has already engaged the Pakistan army in this quagmire which brought nothing but death and destruction for the people in Pakistan, added to the death and destruction in Afghanistan that exists there for almost a decade now. Now the US wants to involve Bangladesh and our army! This reveals America’s intentions behind its military exercises and the so-called ‘military-to-military cooperation’ with the Bangladesh army. That is to utilise our army to achieve the US’ evil designs and consolidate its hegemony in the region.

  7. Saif Khan

    The article is just brilliant — to the point and candid. Bangladesh need not and should not consider such a request. For what? Let other agents of US do the dirty job.

  8. maksud

    can you give some insight on how Bangladesh military took this matter? i just wonder are they interested to go?

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