Biswal due next week
In the wake of the murder of a US embassy staff, the US is sending one of its important assistant secretaries to Bangladesh to discuss cooperation on counterterrorism.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who talked with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by telephone on Thursday over the barbaric murder of Xulhaz Mannan, asked Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal to visit Bangladesh to further bolster cooperation with Bangladesh on countering violent extremism and terrorism, diplomatic sources said.
Biswal is expected to come on a two-day visit on May 4 when she will hold meetings with high officials of the Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Home and Foreign Affairs, political figures and other stakeholders to discuss how best the counterterrorism cooperation between the US and Bangladesh can be advanced further.
“We offer full support to the government of Bangladesh as they investigate the murder and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said John Kerry in a statement on April 25.
Diplomatic sources said as Biswal was coming to Dhaka with a special assignment from Secretary Kerry she would be definitely carrying special messages and would want to meet Hasina, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali.
In another development, the US is working with India on countering violent extremism in Bangladesh, a top American diplomat has said linking recent spate of attacks on secular bloggers and minorities to the rise of ISIS and al-Qaeda in the Muslim-majority country, reports PTI.
"We've seen a series of attacks, terrorist attacks, in Bangladesh over the last several months which DAESH [ISIS] or al-Qaeda have taken credit for," US Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said during a Congressional hearing on Thursday.
Blinken disagreed with the Bangladeshi government's assessment that opposition parties are responsible for these acts of violence.
"Now the government has sometimes claimed that these attacks were actually the work of the opposition in one fashion or another but what we've seen based on the evidence to date is in fact that extremist groups whether they are indigenous or whether they really are affiliated with ISIL or DAESH are responsible," he said.
"This gives us concern about the potential for ISIL, for DAESH, to take root in Bangladesh, which has been an important country in terms of having a Muslim country with a moderate orientation that can be an important player in dealing with the problem of violent extremism," PTI quoted Blinken as telling.