Radio wars in Afghanistan

Broadcasts seen as a good vehicle to win hearts and minds

In the Panjwai district of Afghanistan, the Voice of Panjwai is one of five local radio stations broadcasting from Canadian military bases throughout Kandahar province as part of NATO’s psychological war against the Taliban insurgency. “Recently we started doing music requests,” says Lt. Aaron Lesarge, the soldier who acts as the station manager. Given high rates of illiteracy in the country, as well as the limited access to electricity, many Afghans rely on radio for their information. NATO forces have therefore begun using the radio to reach people. These shows are modeled after the radio propaganda of recent wars. Tokyo Rose, for instance, was the name GIs gave to Japanese women who broadcast propaganda aimed at bringing down the Allied Forces in the Pacific during World War II, and in Europe, William Joyce, or Lord Haw-Haw, broadcast Nazi threats and misinformation over the airwaves.

CTV News

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.