Action against Aziz reaffirms US commitment to democratic institutions: Pentagon

Pentagon press secretary Maj Gen Pat Ryder holds a press briefing on 25 June, 2024.Screengrab from video

The action against former Bangladesh army chief Gen (retd) Aziz Ahmed is reaffirmation of the United States’ commitment to strengthening democratic institutions and rule of law in Bangladesh, says the US department of defense.  

The department's press secretary, Maj Gen Pat Ryder, made the statement in response to a query at a press briefing at the Pentagon on Tuesday. 

While placing his query, a journalist highlighted the US sanctions on top Bangladeshi officials, including former chiefs of police and elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), for their roles in human rights violations, and the recent public designation of former army chief Gen. Aziz due to corruption. 

He also pointed out that the government in Bangladesh is using security forces to maintain power, leading to severe violations of human and democratic rights. Against the backdrop, he sought to know how the Pentagon is navigating its military and security partnership with Bangladesh. 

Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder responded by reaffirming the US commitment to  strengthening democratic institutions, rule of law, and anti-corruption efforts in Bangladesh.

He noted that the public designation of General Aziz Ahmed in May for significant corruption underscores the US commitment to strengthening democratic institutions and upholding the rule of law in the country.

“The US does have a close bilateral defense relationship with Bangladesh in support of shared values and interests, such as a shared free and open Indo-Pacific and maritime and regional security," Ryder stated.

For alleged human rights violations, the US sanctioned former inspector general of police Benazir Ahmed, his previous workplace RAB, and some other officials. Later, it imposed entry restrictions on Aziz Ahmed for alleged corruption in May this year.