Wikileaks megadump reveals US pays local Afghan media to run psyops

Among the tens of thousands of classified documents released this week by Wikileaks is evidence the US military in Afghanistan is repeating a PR blunder that led to trouble in Iraq: paying local media outlets to run "friendly stories"— in military parlance, "psychological operations."

Several reports from Army psychological operations units and provincial reconstruction teams (also known as PRTs, civilian-military hybrids tasked with rebuilding Afghanistan) show that local Afghan radio stations were under contract to air content produced by the United States. Other reports show U.S. military personnel apparently referring to Afghan reporters as "our journalists" and directing them in how to do their jobs.

Such close collaboration between local media and U.S. forces has been a headache for the Pentagon in the past: In 2005, Pentagon contractor the Lincoln Group was caught paying Iraqi newspapers to run stories written by American soldiers, causing the United States considerable embarrassment.

In one of the WikiLeaks documents, a PRT member reports delivering "12 hours of PSYOP Radio Content Programming" to two radio stations in the province of Ghazni in 2008, and paying one of them "$3,900 for Radio Content Programming air time for the month of October":

Leaked files indicate U.S. pays Afghan media to run friendly stories (Yahoo News)

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