New York Times

October 17 1971


East Pakistan: The Grim Fight for 'Bangla Desh'

By Sydney H. Schanberg

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NEW DELHI—“If the Vietcong had been doing this well after six months, they would have considered it remarkably good start” The foreign, diplomat was talking about the Mukti Bahini (Liberation Forces), the Bengali insurgents who are fighting for the independence of East Pakistan, which they have named Bangle Desh (Bengal nation).

From a disorganized, confused band of freedom fighters that moved into action when the Pakistani Army struck in late March to try to crush the Bengali autonomy movement, the Mukti Bahini has become, if not a well‐oiled fighting machine, at least a reasonably coordinated and more than reasonably effective guerrilla force. India has helped with arms, training and sanctuary —and, clearly, without the Indian aid, the level of insurgent activity could never have reached its present pitch. But the men and the motivation are East Pakistani, and, even if they were on their own, it is doubtful whether the Bengali resistance could be totally crushed by the troops from West Pakistan.


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