Directorate General of Forces Intelligence

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Directorate General of Forces Intelligence
Seal of the Forces Intelligence
Agency overview
Formed 1972 (reformed in 1977)
Jurisdiction President of Bangladesh
Headquarters DGFI Headquarters, Dhaka Cantonment, Bangladesh
Motto Watch and Listen for the nation, To protect national security
Employees 12,000 (estimate)[1]
Annual budget Classified
Agency executive
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
Notable Directors:

The Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (Bengali: ডিরেক্টরেট জেনারেল অফ ফোর্সেস ইন্টেলিজেন্স, abbreviated DGFI Bengali: ডিজিএফআই), is the foreign military intelligence section of the Bangladesh Armed Forces.[2] DGFI is operationally responsible for providing national security and intelligence information to the Bangladesh government and armed forces. Although DGFI was formed as a military intelligence unit, over time it has established itself as the principal intelligence unit in Bangladesh alongside the National Security Intelligence (NSI). [3] The DGFI's primary role is to collect, collate and evaluate strategic and topographic intelligence relating to foreign matters for the Bangladesh government and armed forces.[4]

Although all defence information is kept classified by the agency and armed forces, there are reports that the DGFI had the largest budget in the Bangladeshi intelligence community. The DGFI has been involved in most paramilitary operations as well as counter-terrorism and cyberwarfare.[5]

DGFI is regarded as one of the most dreaded intelligence agencies in the world due to its aggressive techniques.

DGFI is headquartered in Dhaka Cantonment, and former commandant of Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) Major General Md Saiful Abedin, is the current director general of the agency.[6]


To collect, collate, evaluate and disseminate all services strategical 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:


After independence in 1971, National Security Intelligence (NSI) was created as the sole Intelligence agency in Bangladesh. However, external threat from foreign military led to the creation of the Directorate of Forces Intelligence (DFI) in 1972 under ministry of defense. DGFI headquarters began functioning only in Dhaka from a small one storey building in Bailey Road, Dhaka The small role of DFI was only limited to sharing intelligence with the Armed Forces. Group Captain K.M Aminul Islam, coursemate of then air chief A. K. Khandkar was appointed as the first Director of DFi.[7] The nascent DFI with no budgetary authority achieved very little until under Major General Ziaur Rahman's presidency, on 24 August 1976, DFI was improved and rechristened as Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), 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 1976, DGFI headquarters were relocated to Dhaka Cantonment from Bailey Road, Dhaka with a strong Counter intelligence division. According to analysts, the structure of DGFI closely resembles that of 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 is the 25th Director General of the Agency, taking over his assignment on 17 February, 2017 succeeding Major General Mohammad Akbar Hossain.[7]

Notable Director Generals

  • First Director. DFI. Group Captain Aminul Islam, (1972–1975)

Organizational structure

DGFI operates under eight bureau and nineteen detachments making up the primary structure of the organisation.Total manpower of DGFI is above 12000.Commanding post of DGFI are DG, DDG, Director, Senior Additional Director, Additional Director, Deputy Director, Assistant Director.

Counter-terrorism Unit

Counter Terrorism and Intelligence Bureau (CTIB), is an elite counter terrorism intelligence unit of DGFI.[9] The Bureau was established in 2006 from the counterterrorism wing of DGFI which was established in 2002.[10] The bureau was established along with 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 counterattack.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 Mass media and civilians. The functions and priorities of DGFI have changed throughout years based on country's political situations and foreign affairs. The primary function of DGFI is the collection of foreign military intelligence, however during recent times, the agency have extended its role economic, political and foreign intelligence. DGFI maintains active collaborations with few other secret services in various countries. Its close relation with, and shares intelligence with New Zealand's GCSB, Pakistan's ISI, India's RAW and CIA.[11][12][13]

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


Blocking advertising on Prothom Alo and the Daily Star

In 2015, Bangladeshi Intelligence Agency 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 first month. Telenor, which owns 55% stake at 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."[14]

DGFI agent Diwan Chand Malik in RAW

A Bangladeshi DGFI agent concealed his nationality before joining RAW, and was known by the name of Diwan Chand Mallik in the agency. He was known to have some important intelligence which was damaging for the 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 afterward.[15]

See also


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Further reading

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  1. Ignoring Execution and Tortures. Human Rights Watch. 2009. ISBN 9781564324832. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  2. "Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) – Overview". 
  3. "ULFA, Bangladesh's DGFI join hands to wreak havoc". Cable News Network, LP LLLP. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 
  4. "PM wants DGFI ready". bdnews24. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  5. "Ministry wants printers under DGFI watch". New Age. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  6. "Changes in top army positions | The Daily Star". 17 February 2017. Archived from the original on 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "History". Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). Archived from the original on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  8. "Maj Gen Sheikh Mamun new DGFI chief". The Daily Star. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  9. "ICAB gets new secretary". The Daily Star. 2017-05-10. Retrieved 2017-12-12. 
  10. "Intelligence reform in Bangladesh". The Daily Star. 2014-03-27. Retrieved 2017-12-12. 
  11. Fisher, David. "New Zealand link to hardline forces". NZME. Publishing Limited. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  12. Talukder, Kamal Hossain. "Bangladesh intelligence team to go India". Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  13. BSS. "PM for strong coordination among Asia-Pac intelligence agencies". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  14. Bergman, David. "Bangladeshi spies accused of blocking media adverts". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  15. "Bangladeshi worked for RAW for 6 years". Hindustan Times. 12 June 2007. Archived from the original on 3 January 2008.