Dhaka - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

I have never felt unsafe here and haven't heard of any incidents. In general be aware of your surroundings if alone. The poverty leads to desperation in some people and if anything that would be the motivation for a petty crime, but I've never seen a culture of crime here. - Jul 2023

Google "Holey Bakery". It happened several years ago, but post is still recovering. The Embassy's Security stance is conservative. Extremist and terrorist groups exist in Bangladesh, but the actual threat that they pose is unknown. The local government seems to use it as an excuse for oppressive security policies. - Dec 2021

No, it's incredibly safe if you keep your wits about you. - Sep 2021

Yes, especially for women. Unwanted touching (e.g. "accidental" brushing up, bumping with hands, and straight-up groping) is not uncommon. Rapes and sexual assault are also a common occurrence. Get used to being stared at and approached for dates, rides in cars, coffee, etc. This behavior cuts across all societal spectrums from beggars to Bangladeshi diplomats and senior ranking officials. - Jun 2019

Yes. People are still very cautious since the 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery attack. - Jul 2018

Yes, there is an ongoing terrorist threat that will place US embassy staff under virtual house arrest throughout the duration of your tour. - Apr 2017

Yes. ISIS and AQIS are active in Bangladesh, despite the current government's claims that the opposition party is to blame for the attacks. There are also domestic terror groups that have been active for some time. Embassy personnel are prohibited from walking, biking, taking rickshaws and public transportation, and moving about in the open; and are also restricted to a small part of the diplomatic zone. - Jun 2016

YES. ISIL and Al Qaida are both present and active throughout the country, including within Dhaka, even though the Bangladeshi government denies that they are here and blames the murders the opposition party. A USAID LES who was also an LGBT activist was hacked to death last month in his apartment, and extremists are murdering foreigners and people with views different from their own (bloggers, professors, an Italian NGO worker, and others). We cannot stay out past 10PM, we are not allowed to walk outside at all, and our movements are confined to the diplomatic enclave. So, yes, there are special security concerns. - May 2016

Small bombs called "cocktails" and petrol bombs which target cars and buses during political protests. - Jun 2015

Random car bombings are common during hartels - general strikes - which are daily. - Mar 2015

Many demonstrations, mostly amongst locals and their government but there is occurence of violence. Just follow RSOs recommendations, I stay in when there is a Hartal. My children are not school-aged so I don't worry about them being somewhere else. I haven't been affected but I take precautions seriously. The upside is there is hardly traffic on those days. - Sep 2014

Security is a big problem. Stabbings and robberies at gunpoint, in the middle of the day, in the diplomatic enclave. No one should venture outside at night alone. No even to walk across the street. - Aug 2014

Mobs, traffic incidents are common; political instability and rioting around recent elections but that's calmed down and was never focused toward foreigners; pick pocketing (especially on rickshaws) and the occasional expat targeted mugging; rabies from the stray dogs. - Jul 2014

There are frequent strikes/protests (which can turn violent), but diplomats and most expats live in a 2 mile-wide diplomatic zone that is mostly exempt from the political action. On strike days, embassy personnel are confined to the dip zone (which is where we all live anyways and has lots of stores and restaurants). - Aug 2013

Sort of -- street protests that close down roads for the day, and some small explosions; but we've always been able to make it to work at the embassy. Protests can restrict mobility for embassy employees and their families to just the diplomatic enclave. - Apr 2013

There are frequent hartals, which are basically local strikes against the government. They do get violent, but not toward foreigners. Expats are quite safe, from what I've seen. Like anywhere, don't be out in bad areas at night. There is little to do then anyway. As a woman, I have felt very safe on my own walking uptown or in the markets. - Aug 2011

This is a high crime post, but using common sense will keep you safe. I personally have had no issues with any security concerns. But they are out there. Petty theft, purse snatching, things like that. - Jun 2011

Not particularly. It's a fairly moderate Muslim country, and those inclined to violence seem significantly more focused on domestic politics than global jihad. That said, security guards are completely inept, and are mostly paid to sleep in front of you home. Occasionally, people on rickshaws have had their bags snatched, and one hears about the occasional knife-mugging. It feels safer than most large European cities, at least on a human-violence level. The insane driving and traffic is probably the biggest source of danger. - Feb 2011

In the diplomatic enclave it's usually safe. During hartals (government-organized strikes) it can be dangerous. - Jan 2011

There has been little in the way of crime or terrorism threats here in the past, which may explain why most Westerners, including embassies, seem to have a blithe attitude towards personal security threats. Household security is more lax than in any post where we have served in Africa. There were similar perceptions and attitudes in Nairobi and Dar e Salaam with regard to terrorist threat levels before the attacks on U.S. Embassies there. - Jan 2011

There were rickshaw robberies and reports of occasional shootings and bombings, mostly related to internal political struggles between the two rival political parties. - Oct 2010

Most of the time I feel safe when I walk to work every day. My wife jogs every day. There is the occasional mugging, but much less than in any major city in USA. - Apr 2010

There have been terrorist attacks in Bangladesh in the past. Mob violence is common (for example, mobs often form at the scene of car accidents and have been known to injure or kill the driver perceived to be at fault).Muggings are fairly common. That being said, most expats (including all those with embassies) live in the safest area of town, and many have cars (making them less likely to be out and about and mugged). - Oct 2009

Lots of riots. While they are generally not targeted towards Westerners, they can get out of hand quickly. Also, crime has risen dramatically in the last few months in the diplomatic enclave area including break-ins of resident's homes, beatings, and muggings. It's a big city, with big city problems. - Aug 2009

The biggest security hazard is walking or driving on the chaotic streets. We have not felt threatened by crime since we have been here, but we have heard of some incidents of theft targeting expats. Most incidents have occured at night while walking or taking a rickshaw. For the most part, we feel pretty safe. - Mar 2009

Blend in. Follow your gut. Bengalis generally love foreigners, so don't be afraid. - Nov 2008

Yes. - Oct 2008

Some but not in the diplomatic enclave. - Mar 2008

Embassy people are prevented from doing a lot, but any real security threat is difficult to see. I've known a few people who have gotten mugged on rickshaws but that's about it. - Feb 2008

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