Islamic State (Isis) has launched a radio station in Afghanistan to recruit militants for the Iraqi Sunni extremist organisation in a move bound to infuriate the Kabul administration and Taliban Islamists. The "Voice of the Caliphate" radio station broadcasts propaganda messages and recruitment calls in the strife-torn country's eastern Nangarhar province.
Local authorities were unable to track the location from where the IS (Daesh) militants broadcast, but residents throughout Jalalabad, the provincial capital of Nangarhar, could tune in to the programme. Most of the contents of the radio broadcasts are aimed at the Afghan government and to attract young Muslims, who are vulnerable to radicalisation.
"It is clear they have their own radio and I think it is broadcasting on 90FM and doing too much anti-government propaganda," provincial council member, Nasir Kamawal told Afghan daily Tolo News.
Government authorities fear the latest recruitment technique will be more effective as the messages would directly reach the masses. Residents are also concerned that unemployed youth might get sucked into the recruitment calls.
"The government must shut the radio station down because the radio really has an effect on the youth," a resident was quoted as saying. Afghan public are actively encouraged to take up arms against the government in radio bulletins.
There are growing concerns that the militant group is increasing its foothold in volatile Afghanistan both by snatching operatives of Afghan Taliban and by drafting fresh militants. Pentagon has also issued a warning the Afghan arm of the Iraqi extremist group has become "more operationally active" aimed at carving out a territory for themselves.
The emergence of IS also poses a huge challenge for the Kabul government, which is crawling out of the aftermath of the Afghan War. This has also increased rivalry between Taliban and IS, which has intensified in recent months as the latter is making serious inroads.
Ever since the Iraqi Islamist organisation attempted to wade into the ongoing Afghan insurgency capitalising on the infighting in Taliban, the Afghan group has been sending strong warning signals. Clashes have also been reported in the past between Taliban fighters and supporters of IS in Afghanistan.