Bangladesh UN Peacekeeping Force

The Bangladesh Armed Forces and the Bangladesh Police have been actively involved in a number of United Nations Peace Support Operations (UNPSO) since 1988.


Its 1st deployments came in 1988, when it participated in two operations - UNIIMOG in Iraq and UNTAG in Namibia.[1] The then military dictator and President-elect of Bangladesh, Lieutenant General Hussain Muhammad Ershad initiated these deployments in 1988 for the first time with UNIIMOG with 15 military observers.[2]

Later, as part of the UNIKOM force deployed to Kuwait following the Gulf War the Bangladesh Army sent a mechanized infantry brigade (approximately 2,193 personnel).[1] In 1994 1200 Bangladeshi peacekeepers founded themselves under siege by Bosnian Serbs in the Bosnia after replacing a French contingent during UNPROFOR operations. The Bangladeshi commander asked for NATO air cover which was not provided. This was in contrast to when the French UN peacekeepers were attacked and NATO responded by providing cover. Over a hundred peacekeepers died in the region including Bangladeshi soldiers. The Bangladeshi soldiers were under equipped.[3] During the Rwandan Civil war it was alleged by the commander of UN forces in Rwanda General Roméo Dallaire that Bangladeshi peacekeepers sabotaged their own vehicles in order to avoid going on patrols.[4]

Since then, the Bangladesh Army has been involved in up to thirty different UNPKO's covering as many as twenty-five countries.[1] This has included activities in Namibia, Cambodia, Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda, Mozambique, former Yugoslavia, Liberia, Haiti, Tajikistan, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone, Georgia, Congo, and Côte d'Ivoire. Bangladesh has sent its personal to at least 45 UNPKO and more than 83,000 personal of Bangladesh having served in those missions.[5]

In 2005 9 Bangladeshi peacekeepers were killed in Congo. Bangladesh had 1300 troops deployed in the country.[6] In 2007 allegations of misconduct against Bangladesh peacekeepers based in South Sudan emerged. Some personal were sent back to Bangladesh and faced disciplinary actions by the Bangladesh army.[7] As of October 2014, Bangladesh contributed the highest number of total personnel to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, with 8,758 personnel attached to various UN peacekeeping forces worldwide.[8][9] In 2015 two Bangladeshi peacekeepers were killed in a militant attack in Mali.[10] In 2015 Bangladesh deployed the first all female peacekeeping unit in Haiti, composed of 160 Muslim female troops.[11] The Unit was the subject of the documentary Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers.[12][13] Bangladesh trains peacekeepers in the purpose built BIPSOT (Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training).[14] In 2015 Bangladesh deployed boats to patrol the Niger river in Mali.[15] In May 2015 two Bangladeshi peacekeepers died during MINUSMA.[16] Bnagladeshi peacekeepers were also deployed in UNAMSIL mission in Sierra Leone.[17]

Explanations why Bangladesh shows such a great commitment vary. One argument is that Bangladesh is able to improve its international reputation and build "soft power," which enables the country to claim relevant positions for its diplomats in UN organizations. Thus, Bangladesh wins both national pride and diplomatic benefits, including better working relations with neighboring countries such as India and Pakistan. Another argument posits that Bangladesh is able to give its military professional experience abroad, and keep it busy and away from disruptive influence at home, which has been a permanent concern for the civilian government. Finally, Bangladesh may gain financial and material benefits from deploying its forces under UN leadership because the UN pays higher salaries and relevant compensation.[18][19][20] Bangladesh makes about 300 million dollar annually from peacekeeping. Half of which is provided to the soldiers.[21]


As a result of its contributions to various UN peacekeeping operations, 130 Bangladesh peacekeepers have lost their lives, of which 84 belong to the Bangladesh Army, one to the Bangladesh Navy and three to the Bangladesh Air Force. The leader of the 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 peacekeeping mission abroad.128 Bangladeshi Peacekeepers were posthumously awarded Dag Hammarskjöld Medals.[22]

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.[1] In 2008, the BBC in described the Bangladeshi UN Force as "the cream of UN peacekeepers".[9]



  1. 1 2 3 4 Momen, Nurul (19 February 2006). "Bangladesh-UN partnership". 15th Anniversary Special: Bangladesh & The World. The Daily Star. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  2. "Peacekeeping and Bangladesh". The Daily Star. 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  3. MURPHY, DEAN E. (1994-12-14). "Peacekeeper Wounded in Bosnia Dies : Balkans: Bangladeshi was one of five injured in Serbian attack. U.N. officials denounce it as most serious strike against their mission since war began.". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  4. "To prevent another Rwanda, all it takes is a few well-trained troops". Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  5. "United Nations Organization - Banglapedia". Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  6. "Attack kills 9 U.N. peacekeepers in Congo". 2005-02-25. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  7. "UN shame over sex scandal". The Independent. 2007-01-07. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  8. Contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations (as of 31 October 2014). United Nations. Retrieved on 23 November 2015.
  9. 1 2 Buerk, Roland (18 January 2006). "The cream of UN peacekeepers". BBC News.
  10. "Militants kill Bangladeshi UN peacekeeper in Mali's capital". Mail Online. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  11. "The Oscar-winning director smashing stereotypes of Muslim women". triple j. 2016-06-15. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  12. "Bangladesh produces world's first all-women UN peacekeeping unit". Women in the World in Association with The New York Times - WITW. 2015-09-20. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  13. Reporter, Joseph Erbentraut Senior; Post, The Huffington (2015-09-25). "All-Women Bangladeshi Peacekeeping Unit Defies Stereotypes". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  14. "UN keen to take more Bangladeshi peacekeepers". The Daily Star. 2015-09-16. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  15. "World's most dangerous peacekeeping mission". BBC News. 2015-11-20. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  16. "Militants kill Bangladeshi UN peacekeeper in Mali's capital - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 2015-05-26. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  17. "The West's Forgotten Armies | Hurst Publishers". HURST. 2014-09-11. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  18. Palet, Laura Securun (13 November 2015). "Why one small nation plays a major role in peacekeeping". Ozy.
  19. Haque, Nicolas (29 May 2012). "Bangladesh troops lead global peacekeeping". Al Jazeera.
  20. Kabir, Mohammad Humayun (18 December 2013). "Global benefits, national motives". D+C Development and Cooperation.
  21. "Supply-side peacekeeping". The Economist. 2007-02-21. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  22. "4 Bangladeshis among 129 peacekeepers honoured posthumously by UN". Retrieved 2016-11-03.
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