Dhaka, Aug 30: There is "evidence" to show that the Islamic State (IS) is in contact with militants in Bangladesh, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday said on his first visit to the Muslim-majority country witnessing a wave of brutal attacks on minorities and secular activists, in a major blow to the government's stance.
"There is evidence that ISIL in Iraq and Syria has contacts with about eight different entities around the world and one of them is in South Asia," Kerry said.
"They are connected to some degree with some of the operatives here and we made that very clear in our conversation. There was no argument about it," he said after talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and his Bangladeshi counterpart A H Mahmood Ali.
Hasina's administration has consistently denied that ISIS has gained a foothold in the country and Kerry's remarks are a major blow to that stance.
Kerry conveyed the US' interest to work closely with intelligence agencies of Bangladesh to fight terrorism and said that "we need to exchange information to combat terrorism", Hasina's press secretary Ihsanul Karim told a media briefing.