Taliban link seen in attempt on Hasina's life

AP via Times of India,
August 1, 2000

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi Islamic group suspected of planting explosives ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's rally has links with the Taliban in Afghanistan, the home minister said on Sunday.

"Our primary investigation reveals that a fundamentalist organisation is involved in the attempt on the life of the prime minister and this group has connections with the Taliban," Mohammad Nasim, whose ministry is responsible for police and interior security, said in an interview with United News of Bangladesh news agency.

Nasim did not name the suspected Bangladeshi group. But local press reports said Harkat-ul Jehad, a little known Islamic radical group, is the suspect. The group has made no comment.

Police said they have detained 23 suspects and are looking for an Afghanistan-trained extremist leader in connection with the explosives.

On July 21 police dug up a metal box of explosives from a soccer field a day before Hasina was to speak at a public rally at Kotalipara, a town near her hometown of Tungipara, 105 kilometers(65 miles) southwest of Dhaka.

A similar device was recovered on July 23 from Kotalipara's helipad that the prime minister normally uses.

Police said the explosives were meant to kill the prime minister.

Police are looking for Mufti Abdul Hannan, an alleged leader of Harkatul Jehad, after detectives on Thursday found two anti-personnel mines and bomb-making chemicals and equipment at a soap factory he owns at Kotalipara.

Police believe Hannan underwent arms training with underground groups in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.(AP)

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