Para-Commando Brigade (Bangladesh)

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ParaCommando Brigade
ParaCommando Patch of Bangladesh Army,Airborne Commando Elite Brigade,january 2019.jpg
ParaCommando chest badge
Active2016 – present
CountryBangladesh
AllegianceBangladesh Army
BranchInfantry
TypeSpecial Operations Force
RoleSpecial Operations, Unconventional Warfare, Direct Action, Special Reconnaissance, Counter Terrorism, Foreign Internal Defence, Asymmetric Warfare
Size2 Battalions
Part ofBangladesh Army
Garrison/HQSylhet Cantonment
Nickname(s)The Cheetahs
Motto(s)Do or Die
ColorsMaroon
Mascot(s)Cheetah
Engagements
Commanders
Current
commander
Brigadier General Muhsin Alam NDC,PSC[2]

The Para-Commando Brigade is an independent special operations brigade of the Bangladesh Army. The brigade was officially formed on 4 September 2016 on adhoc basis consisting two para-commando battalions.[3]

History[edit]

Crack Platoon[edit]

Crack Platoon was a specialized commando unit of Muktibahini during the liberation war of Bangladesh. The commando officer Major A.T.M Haider (a former SSG commando in Pakistan Army) formed this unit under the command of sector no-2. Sector commander Khaled Mosarrof personally took care of this unit. In June 1971, commander Khaled made a plan to send commandos in Dhaka city. Because a delegation came from World Bank to visit the East-Pakistan(Now Bangladesh). For that,The Pakistan government was trying to show them, everything was normal in Dhaka. But The commander of sector-2, Khaled Mosarrof was trying to show the whole world that situation was not normal in Dhaka. For that, he along with Commando Major Haider made a plan to launch a commando assault in Dhaka City. They decided to send the specialized platoon-"Y" (which was renamed as Crack-Platoon) in Dhaka City. The Commandos successfully launched some operations in Dhaka city and showed the whole world that nothing was normal there.[4]

The platoon's operations included:[5]

1. Operation Hotel Intercontinental[6]

2. Operation Five power stations

3. Operation Farmgate

4. Operation Dhanmondi

5. Operation Green road

Special Warfare Wing[edit]

Bangladesh Army Para-Commando troop at Victory Day Parade 2015.

In 1976, Special Warfare Wing was established at Chittagong Cantonment. Later,it was shifted to the Sylhet cantonment. From then this wing started working under the Bangladesh Army School of Infantry and Tactics(SI&T). This was the first step towards the formation of a special force in Independent Bangladesh. In 1980, the army commando course and the counter-insurgency course was started in special warfare wing. In the same year, the special warfare wing was expanded to special warfare school. The Army Airborne School was established in 1988 at Sylhet Cantonment under Special Warfare Wing. In 1988, the first para training course was started at the special warfare school.

1st Para-Commando Battalion[edit]

On 30 June 1992, the 1st Para-Commando Battalion started its journey at Jalalabad cantonment of Sylhet.[7] The flag of the battalion was raised in May 1993. On 1 June 2015, 1st Para-Commando Battalion came out as a full-fledged regiment. After the formation of ad-hoc para-Commando Brigade on 4 September 2016, they started working under the command of the Brigade.

The battalion was awarded the national standard on 2 November 2017 as a recognition of their outstanding works.[8]

Structure[edit]

Under this brigade's command, there are two Para-Commando battalions. They are:

As typical commando battalions, these battalions are quite understrength compared to a regular Bangladesh Army infantry battalion, in terms of both manpower and firepower. Each Para-Commando battalion is Consisted of a HQ company and 3 Operations Companies. Each company has separate troops of various specialities i.e Air Assault, Reconnaissance, Jungle Warfare etc. Battalions also includes of medical,signals and other support personnel, all of whom are airborne and commando qualified.

Operations[edit]

United Nations peacekeeping[edit]

Bangladesh Army Para-Commando troops patrolling at a UN mission

Bangladesh is participating in different UN peacekeeping missions since 1988. Currently, Bangladesh is one of the largest contributors of the UN peacekeeping operations. Bangladesh Army has deployed its Special Forces in various UN Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcement missions, notably in Ivory Coast, South Sudan, Darfur, Central African Republic, Haiti and Mali. These Special Forces detachments are often tasked with high risk rescue operations and raids against insurgents. [10][11][12]

Dhaka Holey Artisan Bakery Hostage Crisis[edit]

On 1 July 2016, five assailants stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery with crude bombs, machetes, ak 22 rifle and pistols, in Dhaka's affluent neighbourhood, Gulshan 2, which is extremely popular among expatriates and foreigners, at roughly 9:20 pm, taking hostage of the locals and foreigners inside.[13] Not realising the gravity of the situation, the initial assault to secure the premises, commenced by Dhaka Metropolitan Police, resulted in the casualties of two police officers in exchanging gunfire with the assailants.

[14] However, Police and the Rapid Action Battalion acted with celerity in setting up a perimeter around the Bakery to block escape of any assailant.[15] After fruitless hours of seeking to bring a peaceful solution to the problem, when the perpetrators refused to communicate with authorities, the realisation set that alternative measures were required.[15]

At an early morning meeting on Saturday (2 July), the highest level of Government decided to engage the 1st Commando Battalion. They were flown in from Sylhet to carry out a counterassault and free the hostages.[15][16] After gathering intelligence from RAB and the Police forces present on the ground, Commandos initiated their raid (codenamed "Operation Thunderbolt"), which began at 7:40 am and concluded at 8:30 am.[13][16] They were successfully able to free 13 hostages and kill the assailants.[16]

During the attack, 9 Italians, 7 Japanese, 2 Bangladeshis, 1 Indian, and 1 American were killed by the perpetrators.[13][15]

Operation Twilight in Sylhet[edit]

On Thursday, 23 March 2017, the Bangladesh Police surrounded a suspected militant hideout in Dakshin Surma Upazila, Sylhet, Bangladesh. Later, a SWAT team joined the police unit from Dhaka.[17] The housing complex has two apartment buildings. The Police unit was reinforced with personal from Rapid Action Battalion on Friday.[18] On Saturday, the 1st Para Commando Battalion took charge of operations and named it Operation Twilight.[18]

Operation Twilight was launched by the 1st Para-Commando Battalion of the adhoc para-commando brigade of the Bangladesh Army under the command of GOC of 17th Infantry Division in Jalalabad Cantonment Major General Anwarul Momen.[19] The main gate of the building was blocked by the militants with a refrigerator with an IED attached to it.[20] The building had 30 apartments and 150 rooms, the militants were constantly changing their location.[21] The operation was launched on Saturday morning around 8am. The Commando unit was being assisted by SWAT and Bangladesh Police.[22] Security forces established a three kilometre perimeter around the militant hideout. The commandos rescued 78 civilians trapped in the building from Thursday.[23] Two militants were killed in the initial attack, one of who detonated a suicide vest. The militants had planted IEDs all over the building which slowed down the military operation.[24] Army spokesman, Brigadier General Fakhrul Ahsan, reported that the operation would take more time because of the presence of IEDs in "strategic points" in the building. The Bangladesh Army used RPGs and shells to drive the militants out without much success.[25] The commandos also used Armoured Personnel Carriers in the operation.[26] Finally four militants were found dead at the hideout.[27][28]

Operation Chiitagong Airport[edit]

In 24 February 2019,A Bangladeshi Boeing 737-800 aircraft was hijacked by a gunman on the air. The aircraft was landed to the Chittagong Airport as an emergency landing while it was going to Dubai from Dhaka. A gunman named Palash tried to hijack the aircraft. Though his intention was not clear the authority was trying to negotiate with him. But when everything was failed and then Government ordered the ParaCommando Brigade to Launch an operation.ParaCommando Brigade members came to the place and launched an operation. The Commandos took only eight(8) minutes to make a conclusion. As a result,the hijacker was shoot dead by the commandos,148 passengers and crew got free from the hostage situation.[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'Operation Twilight' at Sylhet militant den ends". The Daily Star. 28 March 2017.
  2. ^ http://www.ispr.gov.bd/মহামান্য-রাষ্ট্রপতি-কর্-2/
  3. ^ "Recounting 'Operation Thunderbolt'". The Daily Star. 3 July 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  4. ^ "BRAVE HEARTS". The Daily Star. 27 March 2015.
  5. ^ "They gave their today, for our tomorrow". The Daily Star. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Operation Hotel Intercontinental: "HIT & RUN"". The Daily Star. 6 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Stay alert to deal with unexpected situation". The Daily Star. 3 November 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  8. ^ "জাতীয় পতাকা পাচ্ছেন প্যারা কমান্ডোরা". Dailybdnews.com. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Brig Gen Zahur given Responsibility of CEO (Current Charge), DSE" (PDF). Dhaka Stock Exchange. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 May 2012.
  10. ^ "Bangladesh's peacekeeping role lauded". The Daily Star. 16 January 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  11. ^ "UN official praises Bangladesh's role". The Daily Star. 26 June 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  12. ^ Saha, Amity. "Bangladesh's role in int’l peacekeeping | The Asian Age Online, Bangladesh". The Asian Age. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  13. ^ a b c "Bangladesh siege: Twenty killed at Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka". BBC News. 2 July 2016. Archived from the original on 2 July 2016.
  14. ^ The Associated Press (2 July 2016). "Commandos storm Dhaka restaurant, several hostages rescued". CTV News.
  15. ^ a b c d Manik, Julfikar Ali; Anand, Geeta; Barry, Ellen (2 July 2016). "Bangladesh Attack Is New Evidence That ISIS Has Shifted Its Focus Beyond the Mideast". The New York Times.
  16. ^ a b c Marszal, Andrew; Graham, Chris (2 July 2016). "20 hostages killed in 'Isil' attack on Dhaka restaurant popular with foreigners". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016.
  17. ^ Manik, Julfikar Ali; Anand, Geeta (26 March 2017). "Bangladeshi Assault Kills 2 Militants but Fails to End Standoff". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  18. ^ a b "It seems the army has settled for a long haul in Sylhet to neutralise the militants". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  19. ^ "Blasts during Sylhet hideout operation kill 6". Prothom Alo. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  20. ^ "3 killed, 31 hurt in blasts outside Sylhet 'militant den'". The Daily Star. 25 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  21. ^ "Blasts kill 5 amid raid". The Daily Star. 26 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Jt forces' anti-militant 'operation' launched". Prothom Alo. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  23. ^ "Gunfire, blasts heard as Sylhet militant hideout siege enters third day". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  24. ^ "Two killed, more 'well-trained' militants inside, says army in Sylhet". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  25. ^ "2 militants killed, Sylhet raid to linger: Army". The Daily Star. 26 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  26. ^ "Bangladesh commandos storm militants hideout in Sylhet, rescue 78 civilians". hindustantimes.com/. 25 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  27. ^ "4 militants dead at Sylhet den: Army". The Daily Star. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  28. ^ "Live: Four militants killed as Sylhet raid nears end". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  29. ^ "A swift operation of 8 minutes". The Daily Star. 24 February 2019. Retrieved 15 June 2019.