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RFE, RL Launches Radio Mashaal

Station is intended to help counter Islamic extremist broadcasts

Radio Mashaal is the name of a new station launching Friday at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the U.S.-funded international broadcaster.

“RFE/RL will begin broadcasting in the local Pashto dialects to Pakistan and the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” the organization announced.

Organizers said the service is intended as alternative to a growing number of Islamic extremist radio stations there. Mashaal means “torch” in Pashto.

Radio Mashaal will operate out of a new bureau in Pakistan and broadcast from RFE/RL’s Prague headquarters. The station will share a frequency with VOA’s Radio Deewa and transmit via FM and shortwave. Online, Radio Mashaal’s website will provide a live stream.

It quoted U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke saying “There is an urgent need for accurate, objective news and information in Pakistan’s tribal areas.”