Terrorism is a heinous crime against humanity. Bangladesh endured several bleed and kill terror attacks conducted by a number of radical local organizations from 1990’s. These extremist organizations have risen to prominence through target killing, bomb attacks and sabotage. The emerging need of a specialized police unit for Countering Terrorism became inevitable due to the series of attacks and their modus operandi. After the Holey Artisan Bakery incident on 1st July 2016, the image of Bangladesh as a peaceful country became at stake. The Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has taken the challenge adopting the Zero Tolerance Policy to uproot terror threat, militancy and violent extremism in cooperation with all stakeholders of home and abroad.
As the reflection of firm determination, the Government approved Anti Terrorism Unit (ATU) of Bangladesh Police on September 2017 as a proactive, Intel-led modern technology based specialized unit. In addition, to strengthen terrorism countering capacity of ATU, the Government approved “The Anti Terrorism Unit Rules” on November 2019. According to its legal mandate, ATU is the lead coordinating, operating and investigating body for countering terrorism (CT), countering violent extremism (CVE) as well as preventing violent extremism (PVE) countrywide. To that end we are working to create mass awareness and reshaping people’s mindset to stand united against terrorism, extremism and extreme ideologies.
Under the control of government and general supervision of the Inspector General of Police, Bangladesh and headed by an officer not below the rank of Additional IGP, ATU is committed to strive for a full-fledged proactive, dedicated, responsive and professional Police Unit. The Unit consists of eight wings, now operating fully countrywide to fulfil its mandate. ATU carries out its duties based on intelligence from different sources, operates regular drives with specialized forces such as SWAT, CERT, bomb and explosive disposal teams etc. ATU also employ soft approach through seminar and workshop with students to sensitize them about impacts of terrorism on the nation. ATU publish motivational counter narratives, create video content, and use electronic and social media to reach mass audience.
ATU holds a belief in the spirit of cooperation, partnership and coordination with stakeholders and agencies associated with CT, CVE and PVE matters. As co-fighter, ATU considers community as the largest stakeholder and maintains trustworthy partnership with GOs, NGOs, our foreign friends, development think tanks, voluntary organizations and private sector.
With a pool of professionals, top-notched skilled operational forces, hi-tech gadgets & gears and Intel-management, ATU has strengthened its capacity to conduct drive anywhere in Bangladesh. Believing in learning culture and strive to excel, ATU is updating multi-dimensional capacity building programs persistently. To sensitize people’s mindset and propagate CVE and PVE messages, ATU is working committedly. ATU is assigned with De-radicalization initiatives and thus working on counter narratives and social reintegration programs.
Since its journey, ATU is transparent in practice and accountable in nature. With the support of all stake holders, ATU is committed to build a better and safer Bangladesh ahead on the way to peace and prosperity.