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Taliban Claim Launch Of Pirate Radio In Afghanistan

18 April 2005 -- Purported remnants of the Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime announced today their launch of a pirate radio station broadcasting from a mobile transmitter inside Afghanistan to air anti-government programs.

Speaking by telephone, purported Taliban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi said the station known as Shariat Ghagh (Voice of Shari'a) under the Taliban regime is back on the air. He claimed the broadcast can be heard in four southern Afghan provinces.

Nader Nawadi, security assistant for the World Food Program, confirmed that Taliban broadcasts are back on the air.

The Peshawar-based Afghan Islamic Press quoted Hakimi as claiming that "the Taliban own three radio stations" and that the other two "will start operating soon."

The top commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Lieutenant General David Barno, predicted on 16 April the near-total collapse of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan within the next 12 months. Barno estimated that there are roughly 2,000 fighters still loyal to the ousted Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and said he expected "desperate" terrorists to attempt a high-profile attack in the coming months to reassert themselves.

The Taliban were chased from power in November 2001 after intense bombing by the U.S. and offensives by forces of Afghanistan's United Front (aka Northern Alliance).