US Airstrikes Obliterate ISIS’ ‘Voice Of The Caliphate’

Jonah Bennett | Contributor

A U.S. airstrike has utterly destroyed the Islamic State’s radio outfit known as the “Voice of the Caliphate,” according to reports from Afghan authorities.

The Afghan Defense Ministry, along with a police spokesman from eastern Nangarhar Province, confirmed that the radio station, founded in late 2015, was downed by an airstrike, Voice of America reports.

The bombardments also killed 21 Islamic State fighters, the Associated Press reported.

But ISIS disputed the reports over Twitter, saying “The voice of Khilafah of the Islamic state strongly rejects the reports of the puppet regime of Kabul that the radio has been destroyed.”

Apparently, the radio operated near the Afghan-Pakistan border and broadcasted propaganda on a daily basis in Pashto into the region. The programs are a clear attempt to bring down the legitimacy of the Afghan regime by threatening government workers and encouraging civilians to join ISIS. As ISIS is currently engaged in a fight with the Taliban and al-Qaida over control of parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the radio station also mocked the Taliban for collaborating with Pakistani intelligence. Almost all Afghan civilians have access to radio, making propaganda over that medium devastatingly effective.

ISIS also added Dari, another official language in the Afghanistan constitution, to its broadcasts just last week.

Knowing that the radio was having some damaging effects, the Afghan government tried repeatedly to target the mobile transmitter, but had no success in fully eliminating the station. Afghan forces only managed to take it down momentarily twice.

It took U.S. airstrikes carrying out major attacks to bring the Voice of the Caliphate down, though U.S. authorities have not yet confirmed reports from Afghan authorities.

Army Col. Mike Lawhorn from the U.S.-NATO mission in Afghanistan told The Associated Press that the U.S. conducted two counter-terrorism attacks in exactly the region pointed to by Afghan authorities. Lawhorn did not elaborate any further. The U.S. State Department confirmed the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan as a terrorist group in early January. The affiliate group is comprised of former Taliban members, who have grown disillusioned with Taliban leadership. However, this group is still relatively new and so does not have the same operational capabilities as the central group in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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