Members of Bangladesh's banned militant organisation Ansar Al Islam are planning to reach Afghanistan to join the Taliban, spurred on by the Afghan militia's taking over of most of the country's territory.
They are now showing fresh activity on various online platforms, making plans to hijrat or migrate into Afghanistan, law enforcers told The Business Standard, adding that the Dhaka Metropolitan Police's (DMP) Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) Unit is working to prevent any more of them from reaching Afghanistan in the name of hijrat.
Leaders of the terror outfit have renewed their efforts to brainwash local youths, misusing the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan as an example of "Islam's big victory", said officials of the CTTC Unit.
Such enthusiasm to reach the war-torn nation was seen almost four decades ago during the Soviet-Afghan War.
Several CTTC officials said the local militants have gotten very excited over the news that the Taliban are right at the doorstep of the Afghan capital Kabul.
The police have launched an inquiry into the number of Bangladeshis who have already left for Afghanistan, and the identities of these people.
Ansar Al Islam is deliberately misinterpreting the teachings of Islam to encourage youths into entering Afghanistan – so that they can join the Taliban to help impose an Islamic regime in that country, police sources have said.
2 already reached Afghanistan
On 8 May, the CTTC arrested four members of Ansar Al Islam while they were preparing to leave for the war-ravaged country.
During questioning, the militants confessed that two of their members had already reached Afghanistan. These youths travelled by sea from Chattogram and used Pakistan as a corridor to reach their destination, detectives revealed.
According to CTTC sources, a number of youths have already left their homes for Afghanistan. Among them, Cumilla's Abdur Razzak and Sylhet's Sibbir Ahmed have made it to their destination.
Razzak used to study at a madrasa in Sylhet and made his living as a driver. When he left home, his brother Salman Khan filed a general diary (GD) at the Sylhet's Kotwali police station on 25 March.
Razzak – who was a college-level student – went to tablighs with his friends more than once. He had no television or laptops at his home, but he recently had bought a smartphone, police sources have said.
Meanwhile, his brother Salman Khan told the media, "Razzak left home on 24 March, and he told us that he is visiting a friend. He was supposed to return home in two days, but there is no trace of him as yet."
Police further said a youth from Noakhali named Rabiul has also left his home to reach the war-torn nations, but the law enforcers have yet to determine his whereabouts.
Many Bangladeshis had joined the Soviet-Afghan War almost four decades ago, and many who returned home, brought with them the poison of militancy. The CTTC is working to stop the tragic history from repeating itself.
On the issue, CTTC's Deputy Commissioner of Research and Development Md Habibunnabi Anisur Rashid said, "We have researched various facets of militancy. The youths who are planning to reach Afghanistan have raised fresh concerns. We will soon address the matter."
DMP Commissioner Shafiqul Islam on Saturday told reporters that some Bangladeshis are making their way to Afghanistan in response to a call by the Taliban to join their ranks.
He added, "Recently, the Taliban has been calling people to join their war in Afghanistan and some people from Bangladesh have already been motivated to join. We think some have been caught in India, and some are trying to reach Afghanistan on foot and in other ways.
"Government's intelligence agencies – including the DMP's cybercrime unit are alert over the matter."