UK troops are allegedly using Bollywood music as their latest psychological warfare weapon in the fight against Islamic State (Isis) terrorists. The unusual psy-ops are being used in Libya, following advice from a Pakistani-born intelligence officer with the British Army, who believes the music could help to crush Isis morale.
Isis fighters are known to consider music as being "un-Islamic". Sources revealed on 1 June that the psychological operations unit of the British Army intercepted Isis communications and blasted it with Bollywood chart music, which conflicts with Sharia law implemented inside the coastal city of Sirte that bans anything Western or deemed frivolous.
A source told The Daily Mirror: "We needed to unnerve militants and, at the same time, use some of that passive measure to gauge their force strength in the area we are working and it went well."
Media reports have indicated that apart from using it as a form of psychological torture, the Bollywood music also allows British troops to track down Isis hiding places. When the militants complain about the new music over their radios, their exact locations are revealed.
According to The Daily Mirror's source, one incident saw a UK team − aided by Libyan troops − leave two cars near checkpoints at the edge of Sirte and then use them to blast Bollywood music at dawn through huge speakers into the Isis-controlled region. The source believes that this also helps discredit Isis leaders with locals, as it shows defiance against their regime, and the music could psychologically disturb its fighters.
Bollywood music has also been banned by the Taliban, and is frowned upon in ultra-conservative Muslim areas of Pakistan. However, large Muslim communities in Afghanistan and Pakistan are dedicated fans of the music, despite it originating in northern India.
British special forces in Libya are engaged in non-combat roles and are seeking to help the country's troops defeat Isis militants who have established an important foothold amid the anarchy that descended after the fall of the Gaddafi dictatorship in 2011. The terrorist group has held large parts of Sirte for 20 months and are believed to have 4,000 insurgents in the region.