TALIBAN’S VOICE OF SHARIA RETURNS TO THE AIR
According to the July 4 issue of Kabul Weekly, the Taliban’s Shariat Shagh (Voice of Sharia) radio station is back on the air in several Afghan provinces. The station broadcasts on FM 88.00 and can be heard in Khost, Paktia, Ghazi and other provinces, which are all close to the Afghan-Pakistan border. Taliban spokesman Zabiollah Mojahed told Kabul Weekly that the Voice of Sharia began broadcasting again in late June, and that the Taliban plans to expand its coverage. Currently, the station broadcasts Taliban poems, messages and anti-government propaganda. According to the paper, listeners speculate that the radio station is broadcast somewhere in Zormat district of Paktia province, and it is probably broadcast from various locations in order to avoid detection since it cannot always be heard clearly in the same locations.
RED MOSQUE STANDOFF INCITES FEAR IN PAKISTAN
In late May, the now detained prayer leader of Pakistan’s Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), Maulana Abdul Aziz, threatened the Pakistani government by claiming to have access to tens of thousands of suicide bombers across Pakistan (Terrorism Focus, June 5). While the numbers were likely exaggerated, Pakistani residents fear that the current security operations against the Red Mosque will spark a wave of suicide attacks in Rawalpindi and Islamabad (Daily Times, July 7). Residents are hesitant to shop at markets or visit other areas that could be targeted by suicide bombers. Pakistan’s Daily Times quoted one shopkeeper in Rawalpindi’s Raja Bazaar who explained that business is down due to the ongoing standoff, and that “we fear terrorist attacks all the time while sitting in our shops.” Meanwhile, the standoff escalated on Tuesday as Pakistani security forces stormed the mosque.