(Washington, DC--May 15, 2002) RFE/RL President Thomas A. Dine announced the expansion today of Radio Free Afghanistan's total daily air time in the Dari and Pashto languages from 6.5 to 10.5 hours. The expanded broadcasts will be available initially on FM in the Kabul area and on RFE/RL's website (www.rferl.org/realaudio
), but expanded shortwave, satellite and AM broadcasts will follow in the near future.
"We are excited about this latest expansion of our Afghan programming," Dine said, noting that "by adding these four new hours of broadcasts per day we will be able to better serve U.S. national interests as well as the needs of our listeners by providing them with the objective news and analysis they need to rebuild their war-torn country."
RFE/RL Director of Broadcasting Jeffrey Trimble said that the additional air time will be used to provide expanded news coverage on the hour and half-hour, as well as to offer more original programming such as a daily combined Dari/Pashto cultural program scheduled for broadcast every evening from 2000-2030 CET. Special coverage of the preparations for the Loya Jirga, or Grand Council to decide the political future of Afghanistan has also been expanded, Trimble said.