KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The Obama administration is moving to ramp up its efforts to win the propaganda war in Afghanistan, U.S. regional envoy Richard Holbrooke says.
Holbrooke, admitting the United States is losing the war of words and ideas to the Taliban militants, says the administration is establishing a new unit within the State Department to counter Taliban messages, including the establishment of new FM radio stations, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Also included in the $150 million-per-year effort to counter illegal Taliban broadcasting are expanded cellphone service across Afghanistan and Pakistan, more emphasis on the training of local journalists and the production of audio and video programming, pamphlets, posters and CDs opposing the militants' messages, the newspaper said.
"Concurrent with the insurgency is an information war," Holbrooke told the Times. "We are losing that war. The Taliban have unrestricted, unchallenged access to the radio, which is the main means of communication. We can't succeed, however you define success, if we cede the airways to people who present themselves as false messengers of a prophet, which is what they do. And we need to combat it."