by Adrianne Jeffries
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When entrepreneur Eamonn Carey started talking about building a Kabul travel guide iPhone application, everyone - friends, family, potential sponsors, the Afghanistan Tourist Office - thought he was joking. "The initial reaction was one of total surprise in almost every instance," he said.
But Carey and his business partner Conor Purcell were completely serious. Kabul has robust 3G coverag, because of the reconstruction money from the military, NGOs, and the return of wealthy expatriated Afghanis. BlackBerrys, Nokias, iPhones and Android phones are abundant, and download speeds are fast, Carey said.
A Kabul app wouldn't -- and clearly couldn't -- just be for tourists, according to Carey, so it will feature maps, news, security tips, updates on roadblocks and checkpoints -- as well as the usual suggestions for hotels and things to do. They expect that troops, aid workers, diplomats and contractors stationed in Kabul could use the app -- and their families and friends at home could download it to get a glimpse of daily Kabul life. People in the U.S. and other countries -- where Kabul has been in the news since the Afghanistan war began a decade ago -- might download the app out of curiosity.