Taliban fighters raid radio station

AUGUST 17, 2007
Posted August 20, 2007

Yawali Ghag radio station

At around 2 a.m., a group of about 12 Taliban fighters attacked the office of the Yawali Ghag community radio station in Wardak province, just west of Kabul, according to local journalists. The fighters assaulted the station’s guard, bound him, and briefly held him captive in the nearby mountains. They also set fire to the station office, destroying all the equipment, and stole one computer.

Radio Yawali Ghag is a locally owned and operated community radio station built and supported by the U.S.-based Internews Network. The station was broadcasting for about 10 hours a day, including four hours of programming from the Salaam Watandar national radio news network, which is produced by Internews in Kabul. The station manager, Hazratuddin Nosrat, told Internews that Yawali Ghag had managed to maintain good relations with the community and had not previously received threats from the Taliban or any other group. “We had appropriate programs,” he said. “In Sayed Abad, we have to strictly adhere to Islamic principles.”

The attack on the radio station occurred as part of a broader Taliban assault on the Sayed Abad district headquarters, in southern Wardak, according to a local journalist working for Salaam Watandar. Between 80 to 100 Taliban fighters were involved in clashes with police. The fighting lasted for about three hours, ending when police reinforcements arrived from Kabul and Taliban forces retreated.

“This [attack] reflects increasing insurgent activity in the district of Sayed Abad and in Afghanistan in general,” said Jan McArthur, country director of Internews Afghanistan, in a press release issued by the organization. “This is the second partner station of Internews to be torched in one year.” Radio Istiqlal, a locally owned and operated station built by Internews in neighboring Logar province, was deliberately destroyed by a firebomb in August 2006, according to the statement.