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Radio Free Afghanistan Celebrates Five Years of Broadcasting

In the year 2007/1386 Radio Free Afghanistan, the Dari and Pashto language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, will celebrate five years on the air, broadcasting 12 hours daily to millions of regular listeners nationwide.

Radio Free Afghanistan is a leading broadcaster in Afghanistan with an audience of nearly 60 percent of the adult population. People also tune in regularly to Radio Free Afghanistan from across the border in Iran and neighboring Central Asian countries.

The widespread influence of the station was demonstrated by a recent call from a listener in western Afghanistan, who said he had been offered $10,000 to be a suicide bomber and had planned to blow himself up--but changed his mind after listening to a special program about suicide bombers broadcast on Radio Free Afghanistan.

More than half of Radio Free Afghanistan's programs are produced locally in its Kabul Bureau. Additional programming is produced at RFE/RL's broadcast headquarters in Prague, Czech Republic. The service also maintains a team of seven correspondents who report from Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Egypt and the United States.

An important aspect of Radio Free Afghanistan programming is giving voice to ordinary Afghans and providing information in special programs on health, the education of women, and the fundamentals of democracy. Two of Radio Free Afghanistan's most popular programs are a call-in talk show that reunites family members dispersed by war and occupation, and a weekly program called "Let Us Know Your Village," in which listeners contribute stories about rural life.

On March 29, U.S. Representative Edward R. Royce of California marked Radio Free Afghanistan’s 5-year anniversary on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Rep. Royce praised Afghanistan’s reconstruction process, and spoke about the history and influence of Radio Free Afghanistan. “Madam Speaker, it was Congress who took the lead in creating this essential service. A bipartisan group of Members passed my Radio Free Afghanistan Act of 2001 quickly after September 11th. As Afghans have confronted many challenges over the past 5 years, Radio Free Afghanistan has been there—and will continue to be in the years to come, offering a voice of freedom and moderation,” he said.

Radio Free Afghanistan programs are transmitted to listeners via shortwave, satellite and AM and FM signals provided by the International Broadcasting Bureau. Radio Free Afghanistan programming is also available via the Internet, at the service's trilingual website www.azadiradio.org and at www.rferl.org.

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