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Jallad: Death Squads and State Terror in South Asia

by Tasneem Khalil

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Throughout South Asia, people live in fear of death squads, from the Rapid Action Battalion of Bangladesh to the “encounter specialists” of India, army units in Nepal, the Frontier Corps of Pakistan, and the “men in white vans” of Sri Lanka. Their tools are disappearance, torture, and summary execution, and their supporters, Tasneem Khalil shows in Jallad, are the governments of these nations—and their patrons, like the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and Israel.
An unsparing indictment of an international system of terror that is fully countenanced by the West, Jallad presents close-up, detailed accounts of incidents of state terror and targeted violence throughout South Asia. Khalil, a reporter who himself endured torture at the hands of agents in Bangladesh, and whose remarkable story was featured in the New York Times, draws on countless hours of on-the-ground reporting and a broad network of activists and human rights advocates to build an undeniable portrait of the domination and repression that lies at the very core of statecraft in South Asia. Shielded by their protectors in the developed world, the perpetrators of these abuses deploy them strategically to silence dissent and crush opposition.
A brave, essential work of reporting and investigation, Jallad brings these horrific acts to prominence in order to make it impossible for Western governments to continue turning a blind eye to the human rights violations of their erstwhile allies.