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Bangladeshi NGO official killed in 'Taliban attack' in Afghanistan

Publication Date : 05-05-2012


An official of Bangladesh's non-government organisation Brac was shot dead during an attack on a Brac provincial office in Ghor of Afghanistan yesterday.

Deceased Mohammad Mohiuddin, 41, hailed from Fulbaria of Mymensingh and was working as Brac's area manager in Chaghcharan, the provincial capital, according to a Brac official statement.

He left behind his wife Parveen Akhter, son Ishfaq, daughter Mohana and a host of relatives. His body is likely to arrive tomorrow morning.

Mohiuddin was killed when a gang of criminals launched an attack on the office early on Thursday, said Khandaker Ariful Islam, country representative of Brac Afghanistan chapter, a non-government organisation.

However, Pajhwok Afghan News, quoting the acting police chief Col Murtaza Musleh, said Mohiuddin was killed when the Taliban stormed the office just before dawn.

Another Bangladeshi Samiul Haq managed to escape, said the policeman. Murtaza said a wounded attacker was arrested and the detainee told police that five insurgents involved in the attack wanted to kidnap the Bangladeshis.

Samiul told Pajhwok Afghan News that the militants wanted foreigners so that they could get their men held by the Afghan government released through exchange. He said, "The office chief was killed on the spot but I succeeded in fleeing soon after the assailants entered the building."

He said an Afghan worker of Brac, who was sharing the room with the office head, also escaped unhurt in the assault.However, Ariful of Brac Afghanistan brushed aside the claim of Taliban attack, saying, "I am sure that they were not Taliban and it was not a targeted attack. Besides, I think we have gained acceptance of the Taliban."

Talking to The Daily Star over the phone, Ariful said, "Usually, Taliban forces issue threats before any attack or ask to stop any activity that they do not like. In this case, there was no such threat or directive."

"It might be a robbery," he speculated, adding, "Police have arrested an attacker. Information will come out as they interrogate him."

Samiul was brought to Kabul along with the body of Mohiuddin around 12:30 p.m. yesterday on a UN flight, said Ariful. As there was no Bangladesh embassy in Afghanistan, they would have to bring the body to Bangladesh after completing some procedures through Bangladesh embassy in Uzbekistan, he said.

"If we get clearance from the embassy in Uzbekistan, we hope to be on a plane tomorrow [Saturday] evening and hope to land in Bangladesh Sunday [tomorrow] morning," Ariful said.

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday evening, Mohiuddin's wife Parveen said, "He [Mohiuddin] went to Afghanistan to earn money. But we have lost him forever. Now, who will take care of my family?"

Mohiuddin, an agriculture specialist, had been working in Brac's community-based livelihood improvement project since 2009. A few days ago he started working on a new project on water management in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Afghanistan, the Brac statement said.

Brac started its activities in Afghanistan in 2002. Currently, it has 173 offices in Afghanistan with around 3,000 employees among which 152 are Bangladeshi, said the statement.

This is the second killing of a Brac official in Afghanistan in the last 10 years. On September 12, 2007, unknown gunmen shot Brac official Abdul Alim, 38, dead during clashes between the Taliban and Afghan security forces.

In October 2008, a criminal gang abducted Mohammad Shahjahan Ali and Akhter Ali, two officials of Brac in Ghazni, southwest of Afghan capital Kabul. Nurul Islam, another Brac official, was abducted from his office in September, 2007.

However, Ariful claimed that two killings in 10 years were not significant in Afghanistan.


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