Sectors & Armed Forces of the
Liberation War 1971
In the War of Liberation in 1971 the whole geographical area of the then East Pakistan was strategically divided into eleven sectors with a sector commander for each of them. For better efficiency in military operations each of the sectors were divided into a number of sub-sectors under a commander.
The Sector Commanders Conference during the Bangladesh Independence War was held in the week of July 11-17th, 1971. This conference was mainly in significance of command structuring of Bangladesh Forces, sector reorganization and reinforcement. This conference was equally presided over by Bangladesh Prime Minister Mr. Tajuddin Ahmed and Colonel Osmani, during which retired Colonel Osmani was reinstated as active duty into the armed forces of Bangladesh as its senior most official. As such he was promoted to General. M A G Osmani was thereby appointed Commander in Chief of all Bangladesh Forces. Lt.Col Abdur Rab was appointed as Chief of Army Staff and Group Captain A. K. Khandaker as Deputy Chief of Armed Forces. In this meeting, Bangladesh was divided into Eleven Sectors under Sector Commanders.
Sector Commanders directed the guerrilla warfare. For better efficiency in military operations each of the sectors were divided into a number of sub-sectors.
This comprised of the districts of Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts, and the entire eastern area of the Noakhali district on the banks of the river Muhuri. The headquarters of the sector was at Harina. The sector commander was Major Ziaur Rahman, later replaced by Major Rafiqul Islam. The five sub-sectors of this sector (and their commanders) were: Rishimukh (Captain Shamsul Islam); Sreenagar (Captain Matiur Rahman, later replaced by Captain Mahfuzur Rahman); Manughat (Captain Mahfuzur Rahman); Tabalchhari (Subedar Ali Hossain); and Dimagiri (a Subedar, whose name is not known).
A contingent of nearly ten thousand freedom fighters fought in this sector. They included about two thousand members of the EPR, police, army, nave and air forces and about eight thousand paramilitary troops. The guerilla fighters of this sector were deputed to operate inside the country in 137 groups.
Sector 2 comprised the districts of Dhaka, Comilla, and Faridpur, and part of Noakhali district. The sector commander was Major Khaled Mosharraf, later replaced by Major ATM Haider. About thirty five thousand guerilla fighters fought in this sector. Nearly six thousand of them were members of regular armed forces. The six sub-sectors of this sector (and their commanders) were: Gaugasagar, Akhaura and Kasba (Mahbub, later replaced by Lieutenant Farooq, and Lieutenant Humayun Kabir); Mandabhav (Captain Gaffar); Shalda-nadi (Abdus Saleq Chowdhury); Matinagar (Lieutenant Didarul Alam); Nirbhoypur (Captain Akbar, later replaced by Lieutant Mahbub); and Rajnagar (Captain Jafar Imam, later replaced by Captain Shahid, and Lieutenant Imamuzzaman).
The ten sub-sectors of this sector (and their commanders) were: Asrambari (Captain Aziz, later replaced by Captain Ejaz); Baghaibari (Captain Aziz, later replaced by Captain Ejaz); Hatkata (Captain Matiur Rahman); Simla (Captain Matin); Panchabati (Captain Nasim); Mantala (Captain MSA Bhuyan); Vijoynagar (Captain MSA Bhuyan); Kalachhora (Lieutenant Majumdar); Kalkalia (Lieutenant Golam Helal Morshed); and Bamutia (Lieutenant Sayeed).
This sector comprised the area between Churaman Kathi (near Sreemangal) and Sylhet in the north and Singerbil of Brahmanbaria in the south. The sector commander was Major KM Shafiullah, later replaced by Major ANM Nuruzzaman. Nineteen guerilla bases operated in this sector. By November 1971, the number of the guerilla fighters in the sector stood at nearly thirty thousand.
This comprised the area from Habiganj sub-division of Sylhet district on the north to Kanaighat Police Station on the south along the 100 mile long border with India. The sector commander was Major Chittarajan Datta, later replaced by Captain A Rab. The headquarters of the sector was initially at Karimganj and later at Masimpur. The freedom fighters in this sector included about nine thousand guerilla fighters and about four thousand regular members of the armed forces. The six sub-sectors of this sector (and their commanders) were: Jalalpur (Masudur Rab Sadi); Barapunji (Captain A Rab); Amlasid (Lieutenant Zahir); Kukital (Flight Lieutenant Kader, later replaced by Captain Shariful Haq); Kailas Shahar (Lieutenant Wakiuzzaman); and Kamalpur (Captain Enam).
This Sector comprised the area from Durgapur to Danki (Tamabil) of Sylhet district and the entire area upto the eastern borders of the district. Sector commander was Major Mir Shawkat Ali. The headquarters of the sector was at Banshtala. The six sub-sectors of this sector (and their commanders) were: Muktapur (Subedar Nazir Hossain, freedom fighter Faruq was second in command); Dauki (Subedar Major BR Chowdhury); Shela (Captain Helal, who had two assistant commanders, Lieutenant Mahbubar Rahman and Lieutenant Abdur Rauf); Bholajanj (Lieutenant Taheruddin Akhunji who had Lieutenant SM Khaled as assistant commander); Balat (Subedar Ghani, later replaced by Captain Salahuddin and freedom fighter Enanmul Haq Chowdhury); and Barachhara (Captain Muslim Uddin).
It comprised Rangpur district and part of Dinajpur district. Wing Commander M Khdemul Bashar was the sector commander. The headquarters of the sector was at Burimari near Patgram. The number of soldiers in this sector was 700, which rose to about eleven thousand in December. The five sub-sectors of the sector (and their commanders were: Bhajanpur (Captain Nazrul, later replaced by Squadron leader Sadruddin and Captain Shahriyar); Patgram (initially, some junior commissioned officers of the EPR and later, Captain Matiur Rahman); Sahebganj (Captain Nawazesh Uddin); Mogalhat (Captain Delwar); and Chilahati (Flight Lieutenant Iqbal).
Sector 7 comprised the districts of Rajshahi, Pabna, Bogra and part of Dinajpur district. The sector commander was Major Nazrul Haq, later replaced by Subedar Major A Rab and Kazi Nuruzzaman. The headquarters of the sector was at Taranngapur. About fifteen thousand freedom fighters fought in this sector. The eight sub-sectors of the sector (and their commanders were): Malan (initially some junior commanding officers and later, Captain Mohiuddin Jahangir); Tapan (Major Nazmul Haq, later replaced by some junior commanding officers of the EPR); Mehdipur (Subedar Iliyas, later replaced by Captain Mahiuddin Jahangir); Hamzapur (Captain Idris); Anginabad (a freedom fighter); Sheikhpara (Captain Rashid); Thokrabari (Subedar Muazzam); and Lalgola (Captain Gheyasuddin Chowdhury).
In April 1971, the operational area of the sector comprised the districts of Kushtia, Jessore, Khulna, Barisal, Faridpur and Patuakhali. At the end of May the sector was reconstituted and comprised the districts of Kusthia, Jessore and Khulna districts, Satkhira sub-division, and the northern part of Faridpur district. The sector commander was Major Abu Osman Chowdhury, later replaced by Major MA Manzur. The headquarters of the sector was at Benapole. About ten thousand freedom fighters fought in this sector. The seven sub-sectors of the sector (and their commanders) were: Boyra (Captain Khondakar Nazmul Huda); Hakimpur (Captain Shafiq Ullah); Bhomra (Captain Salahuddin later replaced by Captain Shahabuddin); Lalbazar (Captain AR Azam Chowdhury); Banpur (Captain Mostafizur Rahman); Benapole (Captain Abdul Halim, later replaced by Captain Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury); and Shikarpur (Captain Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, later replaced by Lieutenant Jahangir).
Sector 9 comprised the districts of Barisal and Patuakhali, and parts of the district of Khulna and Faridpur. The sector commander was Major M. A. Jalil, later replaced by Major M. A. Manzur and Major Joynal Abedin. The three sub-sectors of the sector were: Taki, Hingalganj, and Shamshernagar.
This sector was constituted with the naval commandos. Eight Bengali officers of Pakistan Navy trained in France were the pioneers in forming this force. These officers were Ghazi Mohammad Rahmatullah (Chief Petty Officer), Syed Mosharraf Hossain (Petty Officer), Amin Ullah Sheikh (Petty Officer); Ahsan Ullah (M E-1), AW Chowdhury (RO-1), Badiul Alam (ME-1), AR Miah (EN-1), Abedur Rahman (Steward-1). These eight officers were given special training on the river Jamuna near Delhi under the auspices of the Indian Navy. The force was later commanded by Indian commander MN Sumanta.
Naval Commandos conducted major operations in river and seaports at Chittagong, Mangla, Narayangonj and Chandpur. Significant coordinated operations were made at Chittagong port in the night of August 15, 1971 mining and thus destroying 17 Pakistani ships. This Naval Commando was placed directly under Commander in Chief of Bangladesh Liberation Armed Force.
Comprised the districts of Mymensingh and Tangail, Major M Abu Taher was the sector commander. After Major Taher was seriously wounded in a battle, he was replaced by Squadron Leader Hamidullah. The headquarters of the sector was at Mahendraganj. About twenty five thousand freedom fighters fought in this sector. The eight sub-sectors of the sector (and their commanders) were: Mankarchar (Squadron Leader Hamidullah); Mahendraganj (Lieutenant Mannan); Purakhasia (Lieutenant Hashem); Dhalu (Lieutenant Taher, later replaced by Lieutenant Kamal); Rangra (Matiur Rahman); Shivabari (some junior commanding officers of the EPR); Bagmara (some junior commanding officers of the EPR); and Maheshkhola (a member of the EPR).
Three brigades were formed in July, September and October and were named after respective commanders.
Z-force: Head Quarters: Teldhala
Commander: Lt. Col. Ziaur Rahman
K-force: Head Quarters: Agartala
Commander: Lt. Col. Khaled Mosharraf
S-force: Head Quarters: Hajamara
Commander: Lt. Col. K M Shafiullah
Other Liberation War Forces
Bangladesh Liberation Force
Bangladesh Liberation Force was formed after special training of selected members of Students league and young members of Awami league. This force was popularly known as 'Mujib Bahini'.
Sheikh Fazlul Huq Moni: Coordinator, Eastern Region
Sirajul Alam Khan: Coordinator, Northern Region
Abdur Razzak: Coordinator, Western Region
Student's Union, NAP and Communist Party
Tofayel Ahmed: Coordinator, Southern Region Student's Union, NAP and Communist Party, Some members of Students Union, NAP and Communist Party were separately trained and organized. They directed armed action in coordination with central command. Chief of Command: Mohammed Forhad
Civilian Forces in Occupied Territories
During liberation war 'Quader Bahini' lead by Abdul Quader Siddiqui played significant role in Tangail area. In the final days of liberation war, this armed force entered Dhaka with the allied forces. Chief of Command: Abdul Quader Siddiqui.
These locally organized freedom fighters made harassing attacks on Pakistani outposts in Faridpur and part of Khulna. Chief of Command: Hemayetuddin.
Major Afsaruddin Ahmed organized freedom fighters in Mymensingh to form Afsar Battalion. This battalion collected arms from Pakistan occupation army and developed liberated area in the region. Chief of Command: Major Afsaruddin Ahmed.
Source: Liberation War Museum, Banglapedia
(The writer is a student of Dept. of Accounting & Information Systems, DU)