Small Wars Journal

Pentagon Jams Web, Radio Links of Taliban

Pentagon Jams Web, Radio Links of Taliban - Yochi Dreazen and Siobhan Gorman, Wall Street Journal

The Obama administration is starting a broad effort in Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent the Taliban from using radio stations and Web sites to intimidate civilians and plan attacks, according to senior US officials.

As part of the classified effort, American military and intelligence personnel are working to jam the unlicensed radio stations in Pakistan's lawless regions on the Afghanistan border that Taliban fighters use to broadcast threats and decrees.

US personnel are also trying to block the Pakistani chat rooms and Web sites that are part of the country's burgeoning extremist underground. The Web sites frequently contain videos of attacks and inflammatory religious material that attempts to justify acts of violence.

The push takes the administration deeper into "psychological operations," which attempt to influence how people see the US, its allies and its enemies. Officials involved with the new program argue that psychological operations are a necessary part of reversing the deterioration of stability in both Afghanistan and Pakistan...

More at The Wall Street Journal.



Sun, 04/19/2009 - 1:38am

I would like to clarify a statement made by the authors in respect to this paragraph..
"Psychological operations can be controversial. In Iraq, the Pentagon at one point ran a program that paid Iraqi journalists to run articles and opinion pieces supportive of U.S. war aims and the Iraqi central government. Critics called it government-funded propaganda, while the Bush administration defended the effort."

Although it can easily be argued that this effort can be categorized as "Psychological operations" this particular incident, ran by the now disbanded Office of Strategic Influence, was not an operation run by US Army Psychological Operations. In my opinion, it was run by influence-operations amateurs who consequently outsourced their some of their efforts to the Lincoln group. Unfortunately, this incident is usually the first impression that is linked to my profession when I identify myself as a Psychological Operations officer.

(OSI reference:

Although I am personally happy with the current attention towards Irregular Warfare and Information Operations in general, It must be noted that there are few institutions and professionals who have the background and skill sets necessary to execute these operations effectively. The PSYOP regiment is just one part of our nations effort to execute Strategic Communications.

An accurate reflection of how tactical PSYOP (a subset of US ARMYs PSYOP capabilities) supports an Special Forces detachment was briefly discussed in the article. It is well worth the time to read full article from Special Warfare Magazine "Tribal Engagement" by MAJ Blatt at

MAJ Gittipong Paruchabutr
Us Army, CGSC, Ft Leavenworth, KS

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government


Sat, 04/18/2009 - 9:48pm

Of the Pakistani/Afghan folks who operate these unlicensed radio station operators, administer these chat rooms, and operate these Web sites, how many do we suppose read the Wall Street Journal or will be informed about this article.

I'm neither suggesting that it was wrong to publish this nor making any other inference. Just curious to what degree they monitor western media and stories like this, in particular.