"Shaping the information battlefield" in Afghanistan.

Posted: 14 Feb 2010

"It's called shaping the battlefield. It's not the traditional air onslaught or artillery barrage designed to weaken an intended enemy before the offensive goes in. Instead it's now about shaping the information battlefield, because in Afghanistan - and in modern warfare in general - information has become the new front line. ... What began as inducement or encouragement for troops to lay down their arms, or basic instructions to civilians not to get in the way of military operations - think leaflets dropped by aircraft in World War II - has blossomed into almost a social science of cause and effect. Psychological operations or 'psy-ops' of the 1950s have morphed into information warfare. There have been uneasy debates about where the boundary line between this and the traditional press officer's role should be, because, let's face it, the media is an involuntary actor in this drama too." Jonathan Marcus, BBC News, 11 February 2010. No mention of the BBC's role in Afghanistan, perhaps because the BBC would resist being part of any "information warfare" activities in that country. But the BBC Pashto and Persian (covers Dari) services are very popular in that country. Many Afghans are therefore well informed, and any "shaping" will have to take that into account.

Copyright 2006–2019 Kim Andrew Elliott.