Directorate General of Forces Intelligence

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Directorate General of Forces Intelligence
DGFI-BD Logo.png
Seal of the Forces Intelligence
Agency overview
Formed1972; 46 years ago (1972)
Preceding agency
  • Directorate Forces Intelligence (1972-1977)
JurisdictionPresident of Bangladesh
HeadquartersDhaka Cantonment, Dhaka
MottoWatch and Listen for the nation, To protect national security.
Employeesapprox. 12,000 (estimate)[1]
Agency executive
Child agency
Major departments:
  • Directorate of Naval Intelligence
  • Directorate of Air Intelligence
  • Directorate of Military Intelligence
  • Directorate of Counterintelligence
  • Signals Intelligence Bureau
  • Internal Affairs Bureau
  • Public Relations Monitoring Cell
Notable Directors:

The Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (Bengali: সামরিক গোয়েন্দা মহাপরিদপ্তর), commonly known as DGFI is the military intelligence section of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, tasked with collection, collation, and evaluation of strategic and topographic information, primarily through human intelligence (HUMINT).[2] As one of the principal members of the Bangladeshi intelligence community, the DGFI reports to the Director-General and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the President, the Cabinet of Bangladesh, and the Armed Forces of Bangladesh.[3][4]

Formed in 1972 as a section of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, specializing in foreign military intelligence, the section experienced dramatic growth following reorganization in 1977, under then President, and former Chief of Army Staff, Ziaur Rahman.[5] The agency officially adopted its current name in the same year. The DGFI consists primarily of military officers from the three service branches of the Bangladesh Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force). The stated priority mission of the DGFI is to provide timely, and accurate intelligence, and tactical support to Bangladesh Armed Forces commands. Many political analysts consider the DGFI as one of most influential institutions in Bangladesh.[6]

The DGFI has increasingly expanded its role throughout the years, including foreign intelligence gathering, counter-intelligence, covert operations, counter-proliferation, cyber intelligence, and anti-terrorism.[7][8] The agency's elite counter-terrorism unit formed in 2006, CTIB, is responsible for gathering intelligence, and handling terrorist organizations that may pose a threat to national security.[9]


To collect, collate, evaluate and disseminate all services strategical and topographical intelligence about law and order situations and the Armed Forces. To ensure counterintelligence and security measures for Bangladesh Government and Bangladesh Armed Forces.

According to its fiscal 2014 budget, the DGFI's top priorities are:

  • Counter terrorism
  • Counterintelligence
  • Apprise Bangladesh Government with important overseas events.
  • Apprise Bangladesh Government about any activities that threaten National security.
  • Cyber Intelligence: Collecting Information and monitoring Cyber threats to National Security of Bangladesh.
  • Military intelligence: Provide Bangladesh Armed Forces with foreign intelligence on other nations' Armed forces.
  • Joint Intelligence: Works with Special Branch of Bangladesh Police and Rapid Action Battalion to gather detective and criminal intelligence.
  • Air Intelligence: Gather intelligence on air forces around the world.
  • Naval Intelligence: Gather intelligence on the advancements in other nations' navies and maritime intelligence.
  • Public Relations Monitoring: Monitoring Mainstream media and Social media.
  • Providing Security Clearance to Civil/Military personnels and individuals.


The Creation[edit]

The DGFI was originally formed as Directorate of Forces Intelligence (DFI) in 1972, by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. An major impetus for the creation of the agency was to monitor unforeseen threats from neighboring armed forces, especially India and Pakistan. DFI was headquartered in Bailey Road, Dhaka. Upon its creation, the role of DFI was strictly limited to sharing intelligence with the armed forces. The nascant DFI achieved very little and was overshadowed by National Security Intelligence (NSI), Bangladesh's principal intelligence agency. Brigadier general Abdur Rauf of Bangladesh Army, was appointed the first director of the DFI.[10]


In 1977, the DFI was restructured by the instruction of President Major General Ziaur Rahman. Following 1977 Bangladesh Air Force mutiny and Japan Airlines Flight 472 incident, Aminul Islam Khan, the director of the agency was immediately dismissed from the position, and Air Force wing commander Muhammad Hamidullah Khan, as ZMLA, was appointed Director of the Martial Law Communication and Control Center (MLCC). DFI headquarters was removed from Bailey Road and a new headquarters was established inside Dhaka Cantonment.

The reorganization was initiated the same year, with officer selection more scrutinized, facilities improved, and the agency was rechristened as Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). The agency was moved from Ministry of Defence to direct control of the office of the President, which led to a massive modification in the organizational structure of the agency, and the agency was upgraded and transformed from a Defensive to an Offensive Intelligence Unit. In 1977, DGFI was upgraded into a strong Counterintelligence division. According to analysts, the structure of DGFI closely resembles that of the Inter-Services Intelligence. In 1978 the Defense Attaché assignment was inducted. In 1994, DGFI's organizational structure was reformed, and since then DGFI has transformed into the primary Intelligence Agency in Bangladesh, alongside National Security Intelligence. The recruitment of DGFI staff is undertaken by the Armed Forces and the Director-General is appointed by the Prime Minister with recommendations from the Chief of Armed Forces. The DGFI was structured to be manned by officers from the three main military services, to specialise in the collection, analysis and assessment of Military intelligence. Over the years, DGFI's role has transformed to both military and non-military intelligence gathering and the agency is active in more than 45 countries worldwide.

in 2006, DGFI Headquarters was permanently relocated to a 14-story tower near the Rajanigantha Area inside the Dhaka Cantonment. Current DGFI Director General, Major General Mohammad Saiful Abedin who is the 25th Director General of the Agency, will be taking over his assignment on 17 February 2017 succeeding Major General Mohammad Akbar Hossain.[10]

In May 2014 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Unveiled the New Monogram of DGFI in an event in Its Headquarter. The Lotus placed on the center of the monogram, The National Flower Lotus expressing the ethnicity of independent sovereign Bangladesh. The eight light emission around the lotus expressing Patriotism, loyalty, Discipline, Concentration, Alertness, Prudence, and Efficiency of the activities of the agency.At the bottom “Bangladesh” Besides it there are two stars at each side and a total of four stars representing the four fundamental principles of the constitution of Bangladesh, Nationalism, Secularism, Socialism and Democracy. [11].

Notable Director Generals[edit]

Director General Tenure
1 Brigadier general Abdur Rauf 1972-1975
2 Colonel Jamil Uddin Ahmad 1975
3 Air vice-marshal Aminul Islam Khan 1975-1977
4 Wing commander Muhammad Hamidullah Khan 1977-1979
5 Major general Mohabbat Jan Chowdhury 1979-1981
22 Lieutenant general Molla Fazle Akbar 2009-2011
23 Lieutenant general Sheikh Mamun Khaled 2011-2013
24 Major general Mohammad Akbar Hossain 2013-2017
25 Major general Mohammad Saiful Abedin 2017-current

Organizational structure[edit]

Eight bureau and nineteen detachments make up the primary structure of the organisation. The total manpower for DGFI is estimated to be around 12,000. The Commanding post for DGFI is the DG followed by the DDG, Director, Senior Additional Director, Additional Director, Deputy Director and Assistant Director.

Counter-terrorism Unit[edit]

Counter Terrorism and Intelligence Bureau (CTIB), is an elite counter terrorism intelligence unit of DGFI.[12] The Bureau was established in 2006 from the counterterrorism wing of DGFI which was established in 2002.[13] The bureau was established along with the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), and the counter terrorism cell of National Security Intelligence (NSI). CTIB is responsible for collecting and analysing intelligence on internal threats and counterattacks.The unit is directed by Brigadier General S M Matiur Rahman. CTIB agents are recruited from the Armed Forces and are responsible for gathering intelligence and executing special operations.


The DGFI and its activities are highly classified and confidential to both the mass media and civilians. The functions and priorities of DGFI have changed throughout the years and vary with the country's political situations and foreign affairs. The primary function of the DGFI is the collection of foreign military intelligence, however during recent times, the agency has extended its role to economic, political and foreign intelligence. DGFI maintains active collaborations with very few other secret services around the world. It maintains a close relation and shares intelligence with the India's RAW and New Zealand's GCSB.[14][15][16]

Military Experts have termed the subcontinent as a beehive of intelligence and counterintelligence activity and labelled the DGFI, ISI, CIA, FSB, R&AW, MSS, Mossad, and MI6 as the big players in the Asian intelligence Scene.


Blocking advertising on Prothom Alo and the Daily Star[edit]

In 2015, DGFI was accused of blocking major companies from advertising in two major newspapers in Bangladesh; the daily Prothom Alo and the Daily Star, causing a loss of $2 million during the first month. Telenor, which owns a 55% stake in Grameenphone admitted that top-level officers from DGFI forced them to stop advertising in these two newspapers. However, other large corporations refused to comment on the issue. "We were informed by our clients that due to unavoidable circumstances, we should stop all advertisements in Prothom Alo and the Daily Star," Alam said. "We initially continued to advertise in the magazine supplements, but that was also stopped."[17]

Notable cases of espionage[edit]

DGFI, like any other intelligence agency, collects information through human espionage. They have conducted numerous operations over the course of decades.

Spying for DGFI[edit]

  • Diwan Chand Mallik - A Bangladeshi DGFI agent concealed his nationality and joined RAW where he was known as Diwan Chand Mallik. He was known to have obtained important intelligence which was damaging for India's national security. He joined the agency in 1999 and used to live in East Delhi. A case of cheating and forgery was filed against him at the Lodhi Colony police station on the basis of a complaint by a senior RAW official. No trace of him was found afterwards.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ignoring Execution and Tortures. Human Rights Watch. 2009. ISBN 9781564324832. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Bangladesh intelligence team to go India". BDNews24. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  3. ^ "DGFI – Directorate General of Forces Intelligence". 26 March 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  4. ^ "- History". 14 July 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Intelligence reform in Bangladesh". The Daily Star. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Changes in top army positions". 17 February 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Bangladeshi worked for R&AW for 6 years- Hindustan Times". The Hindustan Times. 3 January 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Assam: The Bangla hand". Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  9. ^ "PM wants DGFI ready". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  10. ^ "History". Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). Archived from the original on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  11. ^ "DGFI – Directorate General of Forces Intelligence". 26 March 2018. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  12. ^ "ICAB gets new secretary". The Daily Star. 2017-05-10. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  13. ^ "Intelligence reform in Bangladesh". The Daily Star. 2014-03-27. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  14. ^ Fisher, David. "New Zealand link to hardline forces". NZME. Publishing Limited. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  15. ^ Talukder, Kamal Hossain. "Bangladesh intelligence team to go India". Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  16. ^ BSS. "PM for strong coordination among Asia-Pac intelligence agencies". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  17. ^ Bergman, David. "Bangladeshi spies accused of blocking media adverts". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Bangladeshi worked for RAW for 6 years". Hindustan Times. 12 June 2007. Archived from the original on 3 January 2008.

Further reading[edit]