July 18, 2007:
The Taliban radio station is back on
the air in southeast Afghanistan. Back in 1996, the Taliban shut down all
television and radio stations, and allowed only one, the Voice of Shariat, to
broadcast, on AM and FM. The Voice of Shariat did not allow women to speak on
the air, or to allow any "female sound" (definition never clarified) to be
heard. The Voice of Shariat went off the air in late 2001, about the same time
the Taliban fell from power. Now, apparently using a truck mounted transmitter,
the Voice of Shariat can be heard again, for a half hour at a time, every few
days. Not many people can hear it, as the signal is weak, and attempts to
locate it (normally a simple matter) have indicated that the transmitter moves
each night. Undeterred, U.S. Air Force and Navy electronic warfare (EW) experts
believe they can take the station out if they can catch it while on the air,
with a smart bomb or, if the EW geeks get really ambitious, a radar homing bomb
tweaked to home in on an signal.
Two years ago, the Taliban said they would get
Voice of Shariat back on the air. Last year there were a few short broadcasts.
The transmitter may be across the border in Pakistan. But so far the transmission
has been too weak and intermittent to get a fix on its source.