| Radio station brings truth to Afghanistan
By Pfc. Kelly Hunt
Janei Worley with the 308th Tactical Psychological Operations
Company presents radios to the village leader in Haji
Lalay Kalacha, Afghanistan Sept. 30.
Pfc. Hugo A. Baray-Vasquez
BAGRAM, Afghanistan (Army News Service,
Oct. 1 ,2003) -- One group of soldiers in Afghanistan has started
reaching out to the Afghan people via radio waves.
Troops from Company B, 3rd Battalion, 4th Psychological Operations Group, Fort
Bragg, N.C., and Co. B., 17th Bn., 7th PSYOPS Group, Aurora, Ill., took over
broadcasting of Peace radio when they arrived in country. The program hit the
airwaves after the downfall of the Taliban throughout the country in early
"Our function is to broadcast information to the local people of this nation,
letting them know exactly what's happening in their country," said Staff Sgt.
Thomas Pina, non-commissioned officer in charge of the programming, Co. B., 3rd
Bn., 4th PSYOPS.
The unit's Product Development Detachment gathers information from several
different sources to include civil affairs teams, public affairs offices and
It is then filtered through the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force.
Task Force 180 personnel sort through the information that is later translated
into either the Dari or Pashtu language depending on where the information
Though the team currently broadcasts out of Bagram, Pina said they're "looking
to expand their reach. Our goal would be to get all of Afghanistan."
"The people themselves, I imagine, are hungry for information," he said. "They're
hungry for a better way of life so we're trying to do that in our own way."
The programming is aired 18 hours a day, seven days a week. A tough task for
the small crew, but one they say will greatly affect the progress of the nation.
"Our job is to win the minds and hearts of the Afghan population," said Pina
who added that it's not always easy due to the remaining influence of the Taliban
and al Qaeda. "Old habits are hard to break (and,) if you've been under a certain
warlord or a certain forceful element, it's hard to break away from that just
because there's these guys, knights in shining armor, that come along and say
they're the saviors."
It's hard for the Afghan people to grasp the idea that with the wave of our
magic wand, all of a sudden we can fix everything, he said.
"It's a long-term situation, a long-term goal," said Pina.
The impact "Peace" actually has on the people is hard to track, Pina said.
Though troops know that people hear them, determining who and when is difficult.
"People are sometimes unwilling to come free with information," said Pina. "Even
though they know we're the good guys, they're still trying to feel their way
through 'what can I say to this person.'"
The broadcast team is related to the Peace newsletter whose goal is the same;
to distribute the truth throughout the country.
"We're trying to mirror the two sides," said Pina. "Whatever we're speaking about
on the radio side is what they're printing on the print side."
Joining forces helps double the chances the messages are heard, increasing
the possibility for peace and prosperity in the country.
Though keeping the radio station up and running is hard work, Pina says it
does have its advantages.
"Looking at it from an American standpoint and looking at these people living
in this country, the gap between us and them is tremendously large," said Pina. "It's
somewhat humbling (doing this job) because you're making an affect on people's
(Editor's note: Spc. Kelly Hunt is a journalist with the 4th Public Affairs
Detachment in Afghanistan.)