Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Canada's Radio Kandahar ready for broadcast

I'm amazed it actually took this long to implement something like this. I guess it is a learning experience going from the Cold War to Peace keeping to peace making and trying to win hearts and minds.

The Canadian military will begin radio broadcasts in Kandahar this weekend with an Afghan audience in mind.

Canada's RANA-FM, 88.5 on the radio dial, will spin modern Bollywood and Afghan hits considered "on edge" by Afghan residents, aiming for the 15- to 25-year-old audience.

Other programming includes news on international sporting events and features on Afghans living in other countries.
The 300-watt radio station will have limited reach by Canadian standards but should be strong enough to hit all of Kandahar City since it is "half the size of west island of Montreal but with a greater populace."

The call letters, RANA, is a Pashtun-Dari word that means light.

"Our slogan is 'Light in your Life,' " Thibault said.

"We want to be a factual, unbiased radio station so we need to be credible, … we cannot be Western or push Western views or values," Thibault said.

Well at least we're learning. I still think the CBC has a larger role to play in this sort of mission of peace making. It would definately allow them to earn their keep.

Here is a new canadian radio broadcasting station in a suit case that has captivated me since I read about it.

Some articles of note.
However, political commentators remain fearful that the Afghan President has lost support across the south, with the Taliban displaying an aptitude for the sort of sophisticated propaganda campaign waged by Iraqi militants.

The Taliban now have three different press spokesmen covering three separate regions of the country. In Kandahar this summer, Taliban cassettes, DVDs and magazines are available in numbers never previously seen. Their focus is the "puppet" government of Mr Karzai and its complicity in what is portrayed as the Western military persecution of ordinary Afghans.

"This propaganda does have an effect, particularly when it is repeated again and again," Hamidullah Tarzi, a political analyst and former finance minister, said. "As Goebbels used to say, it doesn't matter whether propaganda is a lie or not, if you repeat it enough people will believe it."

Most of the Afghan population are illiterate, but there are hundreds of tapes on sale in the bazaars of the south that feature songs against the government and foreigners, eulogising the martyrs of the Taliban; typical are titles such as "The Martyrs of Showli-kot" and "Bush the Infidel".

"The buyers have increased for these tapes with all the recent fighting," a tape seller named Zalmai said. "The government banned them, but we just take the covers off."

The Taliban have also begun broadcasting a pirate station called the "Voice of Sharia" from mobile transmitters in at least two southern provinces.

On the internet, unknown in Afghanistan while the Taliban were in power, there is also a sophisticated website, In Arabic and Pashto it offers news, poetry, messages from the Taliban's spiritual leader, Mullah Omar, and regularly updated videos of the last messages of Taliban suicide bombers.

A DVD called Lions of Islam is one of a number that is widely available. It was largely filmed in Pakistan's tribal areas and includes the beheading of an Afghan alleged to be an American spy and the execution of local criminals according to Taliban Sharia justice.

Shouldn't be too hard to out maneuver a group that has banned all sources of media during their reign. You would think.

Taliban time line.

UPDATE: Found a video link. Nice motto the truth shall set you free.
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