New York Times

October 17 1971


East Pakistan: The Grim Fight for 'Bangla Desh'

By Sydney H. Schanberg

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An estimated 80,000 West Pakistani troops have been moved into East Pakistan, plus several thousand West Pakistani police. They have hastily trained about 10,000 non‐Bengali home guards Razakars.

Estimates of the of Mukti Bahini pitted against this force range from 50,000 to 100,000; foreign observers think the lower number is probably the more realistic. The hard core of professional soldiers, and some of these are not highly trained, consists of no more than 15,000—Bengalis who defected to the Bangla Desh movement from the East Pakistan Rifles, a para military border patrol force, and the East Bengal Regiment, a better‐trained regular army unit. In addition, an estimated 30,000 to 40, 000 new recruits—mostly between the ages of 18 to 25 and mostly college students but including many village boys — have been trained.

Many Bangle Desh, training camps and base areas are on the Indian side of the border, but a growing number, of the Bengali troops have been operating from “liberated areas” just inside East Pakistan. These areas, though not large, have been expanding.


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