US steps up troops deployment talks amid fears of `trouble`

The US has stepped up discussion with the government for the deployment of Bangladeshi troops to Afghanistan, amid fears that it could spell "trouble" for the Awami League-led coalition if it bows to American pressure.

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2010, 21:02 PM IST

Dhaka: The United States has stepped up
discussion with the government for the deployment of
Bangladeshi troops to Afghanistan, amid fears that it could
spell "trouble" for the Awami League-led coalition if it bows
to American pressure.

"The United States has intensified its discussion on
Bangladesh`s engagement in Afghanistan for global peace and
stability," Nicholas Dean, the charge d`affaires of the US
Embassy here told reporters.

Dean, who is also the deputy chief of the mission, did
not elaborate when asked about the US position about
Bangladesh`s military presence in Afghanistan.

Besides deploying troops, Washington also wants Dhaka
to assist in training Afghan law enforcement agencies and
provide economic and development assistance to the country,
according to foreign ministry officials here.

However, Dhaka is very "cautious" about the American
request since the government would be in "trouble" if it bows
to US pressure, the unnamed officials were quoted as saying by
the bdnews24 online today.

Richard Holbrooke, the US Special envoy for
Afghanistan and Pakistan, made the plea for Bangladeshi troops
to Foreign Minister Dipu Moni at a meeting in New York earlier
this week.

Besides, officials say, Bangladeshi troops would be
found wanting in the fight against the Taliban who have fought
the American troops who have been armed with sophisticated and
superior weaponry.

The Taliban has also warned Bangladesh not to send its
troops to Afghanistan.

The USA monitoring service SITE intelligence group
published a report with the headline "Afghan Taliban reacts to
US requesting troops from Bangladesh" in this regard on
September 27.

The Taliban told Bangladesh to refuse the US request
to deploy combat troops in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Minister had told the US envoy that Dhaka
would do its best to help restore peace in Afghanistan, as
calm in the war-torn nation will lead to the stability in
South Asia.

Though Bangladesh has no troops in Afghanistan, it is
a major contributor to the United Nations peacekeeping
missions across the world.

The US has praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for
supporting a stepped up campaign against terrorism in country
amid earlier warning that Islamist militants may be trying to
regroup in the country.

She has underlined her government`s determination to
root out terrorism from Bangladesh.

Hasina has looked beyond her borders to tackle the
terror menace by floating the idea of a regional terror
mechanism involving all states in South Asia.

PTI

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