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Kerry Arrives for Bangladesh Talks Amid Terrorism Concerns

Kerry, on his first visit to Bangladesh as secretary of state, plans to discuss counterterrorism cooperation, along with human rights and economic development

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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a press conference on July 21, 2016 in Washington, DC. Kerry in Bangladesh amid growing concerns of terrorist activity in the country.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Bangladesh amid increasing concerns about terrorism in the South Asian nation.

    Kerry arrived in Dhaka on Monday after weekend talks in Geneva on Syria and planned to meet with Bangladeshi officials, opposition and civic leaders who are coping with a series of extremist attacks. The most recent killed 20 people, including 17 foreigners, at a popular restaurant last month in Dhaka, the capital.

    The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities maintain that a local banned group, Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, or JMB, was behind it.

    Kerry, on his first visit to Bangladesh as secretary of state, plans to discuss counterterrorism cooperation, along with human rights and economic development.

    Mark Schiefelbein/AP

    After his brief stop in Bangladesh, Kerry travels to India to attend the seventh meeting of the U.S.-India strategic dialogue. Those discussions are taking place as tensions rise in the disputed region of Kashmir, scene of some of the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years. Since early July, at least 67 civilians have been killed and thousands injured, mostly by government forces firing bullets and shotguns at rock-throwing protesters. Two policemen have been killed and hundreds of government forces have been injured in the clashes.

    India and Pakistan control parts of the Himalayan territory and claim it in its entirety. U.S. officials say Kerry will continue to urge dialogue between India and Pakistan over the dispute, the cause of two of three wars between the nations.

    Many Kashmiris want an end to Indian rule and favor independence or a merger with Pakistan. More than 68,000 people have been killed since rebel groups began fighting Indian forces in 1989 and in the subsequent Indian military crackdown.

    Kerry, who aims to try to further boost U.S. economic ties with India on his two-day visit, will be accompanied by U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and senior officials from 12 U.S. government agencies and institutions.