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[] Clandestine Radio 24.10.01: Afghanistan: U.S. Psyops and Turkmenistan,

Afghanistan: U.S. Psyops and Turkmenistan

Analysis by Nick Grace C., CRW Washington Bureau

With additional reporting by Takuya Hirayama (Japan) and Roberto Scaglioni (, Italy).

[Oct 24] As Afghanistan continues to be pounded by allied missiles the United States is finding an unlikely ally in the region: Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan, which publicly maintains a policy of neutrality, has kept a low profile throughout the crisis, however, the former Soviet republic is appearing to be a key player in the game of geopolitics, diplomacy and espionage unfolding in the shadows of the mountains and in the deserts of Central Asia.

Unlike Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which are ethnically related to the Northern Alliance opposition that is fighting the Taliban, Turkmenistan does not seem to have an axe to grind. In fact, the government's public position has been to express concern over the looming Afghan refugee crisis.

President Saparmurad Niyazov already permits the U.S. government use of Turkmen airspace for humanitarian flights connected to the ongoing military campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and is allowing the United Nations to send food and aid to Afghan refugees through his country.

It also appears that Niyazov, a former Communist Party leader, is supporting American psychological operations in Afghanistan.

Extensive monitoring by Clandestine Radio Watch (CRW) points to Turkmenistan as the likely location of the American psyops radio broadcasts, dubbed "Information Radio," being heard worldwide on 8700 kHz.

Characteristics of the signal during the 0030-0530 GMT transmission, which coincides with sunrise in Central Asia, indicates that the transmitter is in the region. In fact, at 0223 - the exact moment of sunrise in Ashgabat - the signal of the broadcast begins to deteriorate rapidly with rapid-fire fading, which is considered a telltale clue that the transmitter is entering daylight.

Furthermore, a strange two-way radio exchange that occurred during scheduled broadcasts on Monday, October 22, suggest that Ashgabat's involvement in the military campaign is deeper than previously thought.

The exchange, which was monitored by CRW correspondent Takuya Hirayama in Japan, indicates that the former Soviet republic is playing a key role behind the scenes in pumping American propaganda into Afghanistan.

Following the regular sign-off announcement of the "Information Radio" program at 1610 GMT a woman was heard keying the microphone of the psyops transmitter. She then proceeded to present a technical report - first in broken English and then in Turkmen.

Abbas Djavadi, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Tajik Service Director, and an Uzbek-language broadcaster with the Voice of America who wishes to remain anonymous have independently confirmed to CRW that the language spoken during the exchange is Turkmen.

A man, who was clearly transmitting from a different transmitter, responded to the woman's report in English and provided her with suggestions related to the transmitter. The man discussed "breaks and things" occurring during the transmissions, which seems to refer to moments of awkward silence and minor technical glitches noted by CRW and reported elsewhere.

After discussing the situation for two-and-a-half minutes the conversation ended and "Information Radio" resumed broadcasting with a sign-on announcement in Dari.

A recording of this exchange is available on A full transcript of the recording follows this article.

The broadcasts on 8700 kHz are clearly serving as a studio-to-transmitter feed for "Information Radio." The transmissions are being simulcast on MW via the EC-130J Commando Solo aircraft flying above Afghanistan and are part of the humanitarian campaign the U.S. military is engaged in to "win the hearts and minds" of the Afghan people.

While it is clear that Turkmenistan is involved in sending the programs to the aircraft it remains to be seen if Ashgabat is also involved in the programming and production. Considering that American policy has been to appease Pakistan by avoiding full-fledged support for the Tajik and Uzbek-dominated Northern Alliance, Turkmenistan's role in the propaganda campaign - as a reasonably "objective" player - is logical and would fit into U.S. national security objectives in Central Asia.


Afghanistan: Transcript of Exchange Prepared by CRW Team


Closing announcement of the transmission in Dari: "That's the end of this programme. Dear listeners, until another program, Good bye."



Woman (2:27): In U.S. Uh, By offering higher degree of report for the U.S. air flight into Afghanistan. Eh, (?) (?) (?) (?) power are known and its capabilities are not doubtful. In loud the United States (?), eh, (2:46 into Turkmen) (2:58) in the hopes of it. (3:04) brothers in the North?

Man (3:06): (Turkmen)

Woman (3:08): (Turkmen)

Man (3:14): It certainly is. (?) (?) The Government of Pakistan ask (?) (?) (?) (Arabic praise to God) I am hopeful, uh, expressed this option are very doubtful attitude towards the breaks and things. It is said with this question, uh, make that a little bit a little more at times and uh, you ask for impedance forty meters.

Woman (3:34): (Turkmen - mentions "normally," "variance," "a little bit")  (4:28) a little bit (?) (?)

Opening announcement of "Information Radio" program by a male in Dari (4:39): "In the name of Allah. Dear listeners. This radio is broadcasting every day. We bring information for pleasure of noble people of Afghanistan. We are broadcasting our morning transmission from five to ten. Evening transmission is broadcast from 5 to 10. Now, we commence our programs."


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