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