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RADIO MULLAH2

Airstrikes in Afghanistan destroy ISIL radio station

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Lynne O’Donnell, Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S. airstrikes on a remote region of Afghanistan have destroyed a radio station operated by the Islamic State group, American and Afghan officials said on Tuesday.

“Voice of the Caliphate” radio operated by Islamic State near the border with Pakistan was destroyed in U.S. two airstrikes, according to a U.S. military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media on the subject.

In an official statement, U.S. Army Col. Mike Lawhorn, spokesman for the U.S.-NATO mission in Afghanistan, said: “U.S. forces conducted two counter-terrorism airstrikes in Achin district” in Nangarhar province late Monday. He had no further details.

The Islamic State group has emerged in Afghanistan in the past year, with a military presence in districts near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

The radio station was broadcasting illegally across Nangarhar, spreading the group’s extremist message, issuing threats to journalists in the provincial capital Jalalabad and attempting to recruit young men to its cause.

Afghan officials had believed that the radio station, which was set up in late 2015, was operating from mobile facilities that enabled it to move easily across the porous, mountainous border, making it difficult to track down.

The spokesman for the Nangarhar governor, Attaullah Khogyani, said the strikes had also killed 21 members of IS group, including five who were working for the radio station.

Radio is a powerful medium in Afghanistan, where most people do not have televisions, and only 10 percent of the population has access to the internet. In contrast, almost everyone has access to radio, with around 175 stations operating across the country.

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Associated Press writer Amir Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this story.