Washington: Radio Mashaal, a US Congress-funded Pashto radio service, went on air in Afghanistan on Friday in an effort to counter the propaganda machine of the Taliban and al Qaeda.
The radio to be run by Czech-based Radio free liberty is being beemed for listeners in southern, eastern and tribal areas of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan.
The broadcaster said the service is being launched to provide an alternative to Islamic extremists’ stations in the border region with Afghanistan.
The new Radio began broadcasting today in the local Pashto dialect.
"There is an urgent need for accurate, objective news and information in Pakistan`s tribal areas," said Special US Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke.
Radio Mashaal`s correspondents will be covering local and international news with in-depth reports on terrorism, politics, women`s issues, and health care (with an emphasis on preventive medicine), a media release said.
A surprise in store for listeners will be the reappearance of Haroon Bacha, a popular Pashtun singer who fled the region last year amid death threats from the Taliban.
The 36-year-old recording artist - whose albums, music videos and television appearances made him one of the most famous entertainers in the region - will be hosting a cultural affairs show for Radio Mashaal.