By U.S. Army 1st Lt. R.J. Peek, Task Force Iron RakkasanJanuary 21, 2011
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - The Afghan government and 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, are expanding their reach with a second Radio in a Box station at the Miri District Center in Andar Province.
The new station was recently established in the district subgovernor's building.
Within days of the first broadcasts, Sher Khan, Andar District subgovernor, conducted a live interview addressing the people's primary concerns and making them aware that he is doing all he can to help the local people.
Task Force Iron has also combined word of mouth with radio communication by sending the radio disc jockey on patrol with Afghan National Security Forces and Coalition Forces, conducting interviews with locals.
Bakhtawar Jan, the new station's first DJ, joined the Soldiers of 3rd Platoon, Company C, 3rd Bn., 187th Inf., on a recent patrol through a local village where he conducted roughly 20 of these interviews.
One of the people Bakhtawar Jan interviewed was Abdul Mahmat.
"I'm glad to see the Americans here with our police," Mahmat said. "They are working together to help make villages like mine safer for everyone. I look forward to seeing more schools like the one that our government opened here."
During interviews. Bakhtawar Jan is able to take the concerns of one individual and echo them across the district, providing a connection to the local government.
Bakhtawar Jan said people recognize the problems are being identified and when the district subgovernor addresses the topic over the radio, everyone hears that there is a solution.
Being interviewed for radio is a source of pride for the people of a small Afghan village.
"Being heard on the radio is a really big deal for the local people," said Farooq, a radio operator at Forward Operating Base Andar. "No matter who you are, when you are on the radio, you represent the people of your entire village."