Bangladesh UN Peacekeeping Force

The Bangladesh Army has been actively involved in a number of United Nations Peace Support Operations (UNPSO) since its formation in the 1970s. Its first deployments came in 1988, when it participated in two operations - UNIIMOG in Iraq and UNTAG in Namibia.[1] The then soldier turned politician - President elect of Bangladesh, Lieutenant General Hussain Muhammad Ershad initiated these deployments in 1988 for the first time with UNIIMOG.

Later, as part of the UNIKOM force deployed to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia following the Gulf War the Bangladesh Army sent a mechanized infantry brigade (approx. 2,193 personnel). Since then, the Bangladesh Army has been involved in up to thirty different UNPKO's covering as many as twenty five countries. This has included activities in Namibia, Cambodia, Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda, Mozambique, former Yugoslavia, Liberia, Haiti, Tajikistan, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Georgia, East Timor, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire and Ethiopia.

As of September 2010, Bangladesh is ranked first in terms of its contribution to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, with 10,855 personnel (military and law enforcement) attached to various UN peacekeeping forces worldwide.

Price to pay

As a result of its contributions to various UN peacekeeping operations, eighty eight Bangladesh peacekeepers have lost their lives, out of which eighty four belong to Bangladesh Army, one to Bangladesh Navy and three to Bangladesh Air Force The leader of Bangladesh contingent to Namibia UNTAG Lieutenant Colonel Md. Faizul Karim died in Windhoek, Namibia in 1989. He was the first Bangladeshi officer who died on a peace-keeping mission abroad.

The performance of Bangladesh's contingents has been described as being of the highest order and the appointment of several senior Bangladesh military officers as the Commander of UN peacekeeping missions and Senior Military Liaison Officers, may be seen as further recognition of the Bangladesh Army's growing esteem in the peacekeeping community.

The BBC in January 2004 describe the Bangladeshi UN Force as The Cream of UN Peacekeepers.

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