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Bangladesh Army 1st Para-Commando Battalion (The Cheetahs )
Active 1992 – present
Country Bangladesh
Allegiance Bangladesh
Type Special Operations Force
Role

Primary tasks:

Other Roles:

  • Humanitarian mission
Size Classified
Part of Para-Commando Brigade(Bangladesh Army)
Garrison/HQ Sylhet
Nickname(s) The Cheetahs
Motto(s) Do or Die
Colors Maroon
Equipment Colt M4A1, Type 56, Type 81, Dragunov SVD, Accuracy International Arctic Warfare, M1911, MP5A3
Engagements

[1]

Commanders
Current
commander
Lieutenant Colonel MM Imrul Hasan
Notable
commanders
Brigadier General Md. Zahurul Alam Major, Ahsan Ilahee
Insignia
Identification
symbol
Maroon Beret,Commando wing, Cheetah badge.

The 1st Para-Commando Battalion (also known as The Cheetahs) is an elite Special force of the Bangladesh Army, established in 30 June 1992. Headquartered in Sylhet, its raising commanding officer was Lieutenant Colonel Md. Zahurul Alam (retired as brigadier general in 2010).[2] The battalion is currently under the command of adhoc Para-Commando Brigade. They carry out operations with the direction of Military Operations Directorate.[3]

History

In 1976, special warfare wing was opened at the Bangladesh Army School of Infantry and Tactics (SI&T). This was the first step towards formation of a special force. 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. In 1988, the first para training course was started at the special warfare school.

On 30 June 1992, the 1st Para-Commando Battalion started its journey at Jalalabad cantonment of Sylhet. 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 adhoc 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.[3]

Duties

The special force is trained to operate in any kind of missions at home and abroad. Their missions include (but are not limited to):

Equipments

Members of the 1st paracommando Battalion are trained to operate a vast array of firearms including different types of assault rifles, pistols and sub-machine guns. The unit has variety of weapons in their inventory such as-

Operations

Dhaka Holey Artisan Bakery Hostage Crisis

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.[4] 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 gun-fire with the assailants.

[5] However, Police and the Rapid Action Battalion acted with celerity in setting up a perimeter around the Bakery to block escape of any assailant.[6] 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.[6]

At an early morning meeting on Saturday (2 July), the highest level of Government decided to engage the Commando Battalion. They were flown in from Sylhet to carry out a counterassault and free the hostages.[6][7] 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.[4][7] They were successfully able to free 13 hostages and kill the assailants.[7]

During the attack, 9 Italians, 7 Japanese, 2 Bangladeshis, 1 Indian, and 1 American were killed by the perpetrators.[4][6]

Operation Twilight in Sylhet

"Operation Twilight" (24 – 28 March 2017) was an operation launched by Bangladesh Army Commandos held in Sylhet, against militants of a banned terrorist group. Intelligence agencies, found some intel on a hideout of terrorists in 'ATIA MAHAL' in Sylhet having serious firepower and mass explosives including suicide bombers ready to attack. The members of the police and SWATS tried to make a quick end to the operation but due to the tactical complications and lack of situational expertise, the operation was later handed over to 1-Paracommando battalion (The Cheetahs), the elite special forces Unit of Bangladesh army. The commandos then rescued 78 hostages from the building the very day. After the operation Which continued for the next 4 days due to the building being set up with IEDs, the commandos nevertheless finished the operation with zero collateral damage. All the 4 terrorists inside the Building were killed, 2 of them out of 4 were wearing suicide vests (which refrained the possibility of close combat/ assault). The operation finally ended as one of the greatest achievements for the elite special force and the army as all 78 hostages were rescued unharmed, including many small children and a pregnant woman, earning the force international reputation for their successful operation.[8]

References

  1. http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2017/03/27/faq-operation-twilight/
  2. "Brig Gen Zahur given Responsibility of CEO (Current Charge), DSE". Dhaka Stock Exchange. http://www.dsebd.org/pdf/COO_September_08_2011.pdf. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "জাতীয় পতাকা পাচ্ছেন প্যারা কমান্ডোরা". Dailybdnews.com. 2 November 2017. http://www.dailybdnews.net/?p=25355. Retrieved 5 November 2017. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Bangladesh siege: Twenty killed at Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka". BBC News. 2 July 2016. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-36692613. 
  5. The Associated Press (2 July 2016). "Commandos storm Dhaka restaurant, several hostages rescued". CTV News. http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/commandos-storm-dhaka-restaurant-several-hostages-rescued-1.2969719. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 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. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/world/asia/bangladesh-hostage-standoff.html?_r=0. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Marszal, Andrew; Graham, Chris (2 July 2016). "20 hostages killed in 'Isil' attack on Dhaka restaurant popular with foreigners". The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/01/gunmen-attack-restaurant-in-diplomatic-quarter-of-bangladeshi-ca/. 
  8. "As it happened: Sylhet militant raid and Operation Twilight". The Dhaka Tribune. 24 March 2017. http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/crime/2017/03/24/live-police-cordon-off-militant-hideout-sylhet/. Retrieved 26 April 2017. \

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