U.S. Broadcasting to Afghanistan Connects Listeners to the Loya Jirga
Washington, D.C. – Dec. 22, 2003 – The Afghan services of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of
Governors (BBG) are using call-in shows and live coverage to provide listeners with up-to-date news
and information about the Loya Jirga assembly underway in the Afghan capital of Kabul.
Voice of America (VOA) (www.voanews.com)
and Radio Free Afghanistan (www.azadiradio.org),
part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), broadcast round-the- clock
on a single frequency in Dari and Pashto, languages spoken in Afghanistan. Both
services are supervised by the BBG (www.bbg.gov).
By helping listeners learn more about developments in their own country and events around the
world, these services are among the most popular broadcasters – domestic or international – in
Both services employ the call-in format to give listeners a chance to ask Loya Jirga delegates’
questions on air. Listeners in Afghanistan – as well as Pakistan and elsewhere – have posed
questions to Amin Farhang, Afghan Minister for Reconstruction; Qazi Amin Wegad, Constitutional
Commission member; and Ahmad Wali Massoud, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, among
Radio Free Afghanistan has broadcast at least four hours of live Loya Jirga coverage since the
gathering opened on Dec. 14. VOA has hosted daily in-depth discussions on subjects related to the
assembly, including freedom of expression. In addition, the BBG services have provided live coverage
of the opening speech of Transitional President Hamid Karzai, interviews with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay
Khalilzad, senior Afghan government officials, and others such as former President Burhanuddin
Stringers in the Afghan cities of Kandahar, Herat, Bamian, Jalalabad, and Mazar-i Sharif, as well
as in Iran and Pakistan, provide daily reaction reports based on informal panel discussions with
Afghan citizens. Additionally, stringers have interviewed women and religious minorities about the
proposed constitution. VOA’s Afghan services also broadcast hearings and seminars in the United
States discussing the Loya Jirga.
The Loya Jirga brought together about 500 delegates from across Afghanistan. They are debating
the country’s new draft constitution, a key element of the U.N.-supervised, two-year plan to
stabilize the country.
The Dari and Pashto services are available across Afghanistan on medium wave, shortwave, and via
the Internet. Listeners in Kabul also can hear the services on FM.
The BBG is an independent federal agency that supervises all U.S. government-supported
non-military international broadcasting, including the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL); Radio Free Asia (RFA); Radio and TV Mart