The United States is losing the propaganda war in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told lawmakers saying it was something that must be reversed.
"We are being out-communicated by the Taliban and Al Qaeda. That is absolutely unacceptable," she told the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Wednesday.
Militants broadcasting from radio equipment on the backs of pickup trucks are threatening and intimidating people and spreading what she called "a steady diet of the worst kind of disinformation".
Admitting that the extremists have been more effective than the US when it comes to strategic communications, she said the Obama administration is revamping its communications strategy - looking at new ways to directly reach people in areas where militants are active - including on their cell phones.
The US must not lose the "information war" in the region, and do a much better job at communicating its values and ideals to Afghans and Pakistanis.
Clinton is seeking $48.6 billion in State Department funding for 2010, a seven percent increase over 2009 funding levels. The State Department will work side-by-side with the Defence Department to promote US interests and security in the region, she said.