Directorate General of Forces Intelligence

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Directorate General of Forces Intelligence
DGFI-BD Logo.png
Seal of the Forces Intelligence
Agency overview
Formed 1972; 47 years ago (1972)
Preceding agency
  • Directorate Forces Intelligence (1972-1977)
Jurisdiction President of Bangladesh
Headquarters Dhaka Cantonment, Dhaka
Motto Watch and Listen for the nation, To protect national security.
Employees 12,000 (est.)
Annual budget Classified
Agency executive
Parent agency Bangladesh Armed Forces
Child agency
Major departments:
  • Directorate of Naval Intelligence
  • Directorate of Air Intelligence
  • Directorate of Military Intelligence
  • Directorate of Counterintelligence
  • Signals Intelligence Bureau
  • Internal Affairs Bureau
  • Public Relations Monitoring Cell
Notable Directors:

The Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (Bengali: সামরিক গোয়েন্দা মহাপরিদপ্তর), commonly known as DGFI is the military intelligence section of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, tasked with collection, collation, and evaluation of strategic and topographic information, primarily through human intelligence (HUMINT).[1] As one of the principal members of the Bangladeshi intelligence community, the DGFI reports to the Director-General and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the Prime Minister, the Cabinet of Bangladesh, and the Armed Forces of Bangladesh.[2][3]

Formed in 1972 as Directorate of Forces Intelligence, succeeding from ISI, as the principal intelligence arm of the military specializing in foreign military intelligence, the agency experienced dramatic growth following reorganization in 1977, under then President, and former Chief of Army Staff, Ziaur Rahman.[4] The agency officially adopted its current name in the same year. The DGFI consists primarily of military officers from the three service branches of the Bangladesh Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force). The stated priority mission of the DGFI is to provide timely, and accurate intelligence, and tactical support to Bangladesh Armed Forces commands. Many political analysts consider the DGFI as one of most influential institutions in Bangladesh.[5]

The DGFI has increasingly expanded its role throughout the years, including foreign intelligence gathering, counter-intelligence, covert operations, counter-proliferation, signals intelligence, cyber intelligence, and anti-terrorism.[6][7] The agency's elite counter-terrorism unit formed in 2006, CTIB, is responsible for gathering intelligence, infiltrating and neutralizing terrorist organizations that may pose a threat to national security.[8]


To collect, collate, evaluate and disseminate all strategic and topographical intelligence about law and order situations and the Armed Forces. To ensure counterintelligence and security measures for Bangladesh Government and Bangladesh Armed Forces.

According to its fiscal 2014 budget, the DGFI's top priorities are:

  • Counter terrorism
  • Counterintelligence
  • Apprise Bangladesh Government with important overseas events.
  • Apprise Bangladesh Government about any activities that threaten National security.
  • Cyber Intelligence: Collecting Information and monitoring Cyber threats to National Security of Bangladesh.
  • Military intelligence: Provide Bangladesh Armed Forces with foreign intelligence on other nations' Armed forces.
  • Joint Intelligence: Works with Special Branch of Bangladesh Police and Rapid Action Battalion to gather detective and criminal intelligence.
  • Air Intelligence: Gather intelligence on air forces around the world.
  • Naval Intelligence: Gather intelligence on the advancements in other nations' navies and maritime intelligence.
  • Public Relations Monitoring: Monitoring Mainstream media and Social media.
  • Providing Security Clearance to Civil/Military personnel and individuals.


The Creation

The DGFI was originally formed as Directorate of Forces Intelligence (DFI) in 1972, by Ziaur Rahman. An major impetus for the creation of the agency was to monitor unforeseen threats from neighboring armed forces, especially India and Pakistan. DFI was headquartered in Bailey Road, Dhaka. Upon its creation, the role of DFI was strictly limited to sharing intelligence with the armed forces. The nascent DFI achieved very little and was overshadowed by National Security Intelligence (NSI), Bangladesh's principal intelligence agency. Brigadier general Abdur Rauf of Bangladesh Army, was appointed the first director of the DFI.[9]

The reorganization was initiated the same year, with officer selection more scrutinized, facilities improved, and the agency was rechristened as Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). The agency was moved from Ministry of Defence to direct control of the office of the President, which led to a massive modification in the organizational structure of the agency, and the agency was upgraded and transformed from a Defensive to an Offensive Intelligence Unit. In 1977, DGFI was upgraded into a strong Counterintelligence division. According to analysts, the structure of DGFI closely resembles that of the Inter-Services Intelligence. In 1978 the Defense Attaché assignment was inducted. In 1994, DGFI's organizational structure was reformed, and since then DGFI has transformed into the primary Intelligence Agency in Bangladesh, alongside National Security Intelligence. The recruitment of DGFI staff is undertaken by the Armed Forces and the Director-General is appointed by the Prime Minister with recommendations from the Chief of Armed Forces. The DGFI was structured to be manned by officers from the three main military services, to specialise in the collection, analysis and assessment of Military intelligence. Over the years, DGFI's role has transformed to both military and non-military intelligence gathering and the agency is active in more than 45 countries worldwide.

in 2006, DGFI Headquarters was permanently relocated to a 14-story tower near the Rajanigantha Area inside the Dhaka Cantonment. Current DGFI Director General, Major General Mohammad Saiful Abedin who is the 25th Director General of the Agency, will be taking over his assignment on 17 February 2017 succeeding Major General Mohammad Akbar Hossain.[10]

In May 2014 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Unveiled the New Monogram of DGFI in an event in Its Headquarter. The Lotus placed on the center of the monogram, The National Flower Lotus expressing the ethnicity of independent sovereign Bangladesh. The eight light emission around the lotus expressing Patriotism, loyalty, Discipline, Concentration, Alertness, Prudence, and Efficiency of the activities of the agency.At the bottom “Bangladesh” Besides it there are two stars at each side and a total of four stars representing the four fundamental principles of the constitution of Bangladesh, Nationalism, Secularism, Socialism and Democracy.[10]

Notable Director Generals

Director General Tenure
1 Brigadier general Abdur Rauf 1972-1975
2 Colonel Jamil Uddin Ahmad 1975
3 Air vice-marshal Aminul Islam Khan 1975-1977
4 Wing Commander Muhammad Hamidullah Khan, TJ, SH, BP 1977-1978
5 Major general Mohabbat Jan Chowdhury 1979-1981
6 Lt. Gen. Latif 1987-1990
22 Lieutenant general Molla Fazle Akbar 2009-2011
23 Lieutenant general Sheikh Mamun Khaled 2011-2013
24 Major general Mohammad Akbar Hossain 2013-2017
25 Major general Mohammad Saiful Abedin 2017-current

Organizational structure

Eight bureau and nineteen detachments make up the primary structure of the organisation. The total manpower for DGFI is estimated to be around 12,000. The Commanding post for DGFI is the DG followed by the DDG, Director, Senior Additional Director, Additional Director, Deputy Director and Assistant Director. Officers from armed forces posted here on deputation. Some civilion officer also works for DGFI recruited by Chief Administrative Officer, Ministry of Defence, Bangladesh.

Counter-terrorism Unit

Counter Terrorism and Intelligence Bureau (CTIB), is an elite counter terrorism intelligence unit of DGFI.[11] The Bureau was established in 2006 from the counterterrorism wing of DGFI which was established in 2002.[12] The bureau was established along with the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), and the counter terrorism cell of National Security Intelligence (NSI). CTIB is responsible for collecting and analysing intelligence on internal threats and counterattacks.The unit is directed by Brigadier General S M Matiur Rahman. CTIB agents are recruited from the Armed Forces and are responsible for gathering intelligence and executing special operations.


The DGFI and its activities are highly classified and confidential to both the mass media and civilians. The functions and priorities of DGFI have changed throughout the years and vary with the country's political situations and foreign affairs. The primary function of the DGFI is the collection of foreign military intelligence, however during recent times, the agency has extended its role to economic, political and foreign intelligence. DGFI maintains active collaborations with very few other secret services around the world.

Military Experts have termed the subcontinent as a beehive of intelligence and counterintelligence activity and labelled the DGFI, ISI, CIA, FSB, R&AW, MSS, Mossad, and MI6 as the big players in the Asian intelligence Scene.


  • In 2008, Tasneem Khalil, a CNN news representative accused DGFI of arresting, and torturing him for twenty-two hours for criticizing the military for using the interim government as a cover for de facto army rule.[13]
  • In 2008, several leading Indian newspaper accused DGFI of operating in north-east India. Several Indian politicians accused DGFI of backing ULFA with training and financing. No evidences were found to establish the allegations.[14][15][16][17]
  • In 2011, British newspaper The Guardian accused DGFI of torturing several British citizens in an unknown torture cell. Among the alleged victims, Jamil Rahman; a British national accused DGFI of repeatedly torturing him for over two years. He also accused British intelligence unit MI5 of working with DGFI. No evidences were found to support the allegations.[18][19]
  • In 2015, DGFI was accused of blocking major companies from advertising in two major newspapers in Bangladesh; the daily Prothom Alo and the Daily Star, causing a loss of $2 million during the first month. Telenor, which owns a 55% stake in Grameenphone admitted that top-level officers from DGFI forced them to stop advertising in these two newspapers. However, other large corporations refused to comment on the issue. "We were informed by our clients that due to unavoidable circumstances, we should stop all advertisements in Prothom Alo and the Daily Star," Alam said. "We initially continued to advertise in the magazine supplements, but that was also stopped."[20]
  • In 2018, Bangladesh's Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha accused DGFI of forcing him to resign by threatening 'serious consequences' if he refuse to do so. In a controversial book "A Broken Dream: Rule of Law, Human Rights & Democracy", he describes DGFI treatment as so cruel that it could be compared with none other than the Gestapo force of Hitler. Sinha's allegations are refuted by several high level legal officers, including the attorney general Mahbubey Alam, who said , Justice SK Sinha has written the book basing on his wild imagination, not on facts. There is no need to take this book seriously.[21]

Notable cases of espionage

DGFI, like any other intelligence agency, collects information through human espionage. They have conducted numerous operations over the course of decades.

Spying for DGFI

  • Diwan Chand Mallik - A Bangladeshi DGFI agent concealed his nationality and joined R&AW where he was known as Diwan Chand Mallik. He was known to have obtained important intelligence which was damaging for India's national security. He joined the agency in 1999 and used to live in East Delhi. A case of cheating and forgery was filed against him at the Lodhi colony police station on the basis of a complaint by a senior RAW official. No trace of him was found afterwards.[22]

See also


  1. ^ "Bangladesh intelligence team to go India". Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  2. ^ "DGFI – Directorate General of Forces Intelligence". 26 March 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |website= (help)
  3. ^ "- History". 14 July 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Intelligence reform in Bangladesh". The Daily Star. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Changes in top army positions". The Daily Star. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  6. ^ "Bangladeshi worked for R&AW for 6 years- Hindustan Times". Hindustan Times. 3 January 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Assam: The Bangla hand". Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  8. ^ "PM wants DGFI ready". Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  9. ^ "History". Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). Archived from the original on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  10. ^ "DGFI – Directorate General of Forces Intelligence". 26 March 2018. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  11. ^ "ICAB gets new secretary". The Daily Star. 10 May 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Intelligence reform in Bangladesh". The Daily Star. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  13. ^ "The Torture of Tasneem Khalil: How the Bangladesh Military Abuses Its Power under the State of Emergency: IV. A Midnight Arrest, 22 Hours of Torture:". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  14. ^ "ULFA, Bangladesh's DGFI join hands to wreak havoc". News18. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Ulfa leadership working closely with ISI, DGFI". The Economic Times. 7 February 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  16. ^ "'ULFA has links with ISI, B'desh spy agency'". Hindustan Times. 6 February 2009.
  17. ^ "Assam: The Bangla hand". Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  18. ^ Khalil, Tasneem (2 March 2008). "Surviving torture in Bangladesh". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  19. ^ Cobain, Ian; Karim, Fariha (17 January 2011). "Bangladesh interrogation centre where Britons were taken to be tortured". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  20. ^ Bergman, David. "Bangladeshi spies accused of blocking media adverts". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  21. ^ "Bangladesh: Ex-chief justice alleges he was 'forced' to resign'". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Bangladeshi worked for RAW for 6 years". Hindustan Times. 12 June 2007. Archived from the original on 3 January 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

Further reading

  • Amin tried to blackmail Hasina
  • Bangladesh Country Study Guide: Vol I
  • Ignoring Executions and Torture: Impunity for Bangladesh's Security Forces
  • Pakistan Intelligence, Security Activities and Operations Handbook
  • India's Fragile Borderlands: The Dynamics of Terrorism in North East India
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