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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Taliban on the Afghan Radio Dial

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Afghanistan's Taliban guerrillas launched a clandestine radio station on Monday, broadcasting anti-government commentaries and Islamic hymns from a mobile transmitter.

Called "Shariat Shagh," or Voice of Shariat, after the station the Taliban ran while in power, the broadcast can be heard in five southern provinces, including the former regime's old power base of Kandahar.

"We launched the broadcast today through a mobile facility," said Taliban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi, speaking by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Hakimi said the Taliban, fighting an insurgency in the south and east of the country since it was driven from power in late 2001, needed its own voice because the world's media were pro-American.

Many Afghans listen to the BBC and Voice of America, which broadcast in the country's two main languages, Pashto and Dari. In addition to government-run radio, numerous small private stations have sprung up, many funded by aid donors.

Asked what the Taliban would do if U.S. forces detected and destroyed its transmitter, Hakimi said they would set up another.

Taliban attacks have picked up following a winter lull after the guerrillas failed in a vow to disrupt October presidential elections won by President Hamid Karzai.