ISIS Radio Station Bombed Off Afghanistan’s FM Airwaves

AP's Afghanistan bureau chief chronicles a fast-changing story.

Lynne O'DonnellAt the beginning of January, AP Afghanistan bureau chief Lynne O’Donnell (pictured) wrote about Voice of the Caliphate, a mobile ISIS radio station launched in late 2015. She noted that ISIS had taken out a pair of competitors in Jalalabad in October and also attacked the offices of Voice of America and the Pajhwok news agency in July:

IS radio can be heard across Nangarhar on an FM frequency for 90 minutes a day in both the Pashto and Dari languages. Programs include news, interviews, vitriol against the Afghan government and the Taliban, recruitment propaganda, and devotional music in multiple languages.

The message is clear: the Afghan government is a doomed “puppet regime” of the Americans. The Taliban are a spent force hijacked by Pakistan. The caliphate is coming.

A month later, O’Donnell is relaying some different news. A pair of U.S. airstrikes late Monday in the Achin district, in the eastern Nangarhar province, have taken out IS Radio:

Afghan officials had said they believed the broadcasts were coming from mobile facilities that could be moved easily back and forth across the mountainous border.
A U.S.-NATO mission spokesman for the Nangarhar governor, Attaullah Khogyani, said the strikes had also killed 21 IS supporters, including five who were working for the radio station.

O’Donnell was appointed Afghanistan AP bureau chief in the fall of 2014. She worked previously for AFP, Reuters and as The Australian’s China correspondent.