Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), one of the measure’s leading supporters, said while the plan was originally considered to counter statements by the former ruling Taliban militia, the broadcasts would still serve a purpose now that the Taliban has been removed from power.
“As we attempt to replace the Taliban … it is important that the Afghan population have access to the truth, first about the Taliban and, second, about the United States,” Royce said.
The Radio Free Afghanistan unit, which will broadcast in both the Pashto and Dari languages, will be run by the existing Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty organization.
Thomas Dine, president of the private, government-funded group, told the Associated Press a half-hour of programming for Afghanistan will begin by late next month, eventually increasing to 12 hours a day. The broadcasts will originate from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Prague headquarters.
The new service would be similar to existing broadcasts of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, created during the Cold War to broadcast programming promoting democratic values into Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Dine said part of the congressional money will go towards moving three transmitters from Spain to Kuwait to amplify the signal to Afghanistan.
The money for the Afghan broadcasts was included in a larger military spending bill approved by Congress.