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Air Strikes Destroy Islamic State Radio Station In Afghanistan, Officials Say

Grab from a video released in August 2015 that shows militants loyal to the Islamic State (IS) blowing up bound and blindfolded Afghan prisoners with explosives.

Afghan and U.S. officials say air strikes have destroyed Voice of the Caliphate, an Islamic State-operated radio station that had been broadcasting the militant group’s extremist messages in eastern Afghanistan since last year.

Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar Province, told RFE/RL that Voice of the Caliphate radio was destroyed near the Pakistani border in the early evening of February 1.

Local residents confirmed that the station had stopped broadcasting.

An unidentified American military official was quoted as saying that the radio station had been destroyed in two U.S. air strikes.

And U.S. Army Colonel Mike Lawhorn, a spokesman for the U.S.-NATO mission in Afghanistan, said in a statement that American forces had carried out two counterterrorism air strikes in Achin district.

However, Khogyani said a total of four strikes hit three IS targets, killing 29 IS members, including five radio employees and three people who worked on the station's website.

Provincial police spokesman Hazrat Husain Mashriqiwal said a self-styled IS court was also destroyed in the attacks.

The IS group appeared in Afghanistan in the past year after seizing large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014. It has a military presence in several districts along Afghanistan's volatile border with Pakistan.

The Voice of the Caliphate was set up late in 2015 and had been illegally broadcasting IS's extremist propaganda across Nangarhar.

Broadcasting in Pashto, the radio station -- which Afghan officials believe was mobile -- was also used for recruitment purposes and to issue threats to journalists.

Radio remains a powerful medium in Afghanistan, where most people do not have access to television and the Internet.

With reporting by AP and Pajhwok

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