“The Canadian military launched a new radio station on Saturday, mixing music with a pro-NATO, anti-Taliban message aimed at young people in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
RANA-FM will try to reach people between the ages of 15 and 25 by playing mostly Bollywood and modern Afghan music, and by featuring sports and public affairs programming.
It also gives the commander of the Joint Task Force in Afghanistan an opportunity to talk to the people more directly.
The Canadian military says it’s too dangerous for RANA-FM to be produced in Kandahar.
The station is based in Kingston, Ont., for security reasons and its exact location is being kept secret.
Sabir Ayaz, a young Afghan-Canadian who is spinning tunes, says he’s hoping to make a difference in his homeland.
“I do believe it’s also part of a reconstruction and getting us back on the track since we were at war and everything,” he told CBC Radio.
Amidst the music, there’s a message: regular announcements urging Afghans to reject the Taliban.
Station manager David Bailey admits his station is tightly controlled, but says it’s not a puppet of its military masters.
“When you talk about military and radio, the first word is the P word, propaganda, you know. And we’re anything but.”
Capt. Robin Thibault, a spokesman for the station, said the Afghan-Canadian broadcasters want to promote the Afghan way of life, as well as demystify what Canadian soldiers are trying to accomplish in southern Afghanistan.” CBC