The head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, has said that progress is being made in the international community's battle against terror in Afghanistan - and that progress is being made by iPhones.
Delivering a speech yesterday at the Brussels-based Security and Defence Agenda thinktank, the NATO kingpin expounded on a number of topics. He said that the European members of NATO needed to do more in Afghanistan, sending more troops and putting them under fewer restrictions as to where they could go (German soldiers, for instance, are only allowed to serve in the relatively peaceful northern provinces).
De Hoop Scheffer also said that Western aid departments in the war-torn central Asian state must learn to work with each other better, and to cooperate more with their military colleagues.
More interestingly, the Alliance chief also revealed that he had suffered phone envy during a recent trip to Kabul. He also seemed to suggest that when a suffering people turn away from the dark horror-wracked night of despair and legacy technology, and instead reach out into the bright new Multitouch dawn - well, then peace and prosperity can't be far away.
According to Mr De Hoop Scheffer:
Today, half the country is relatively at peace. Access to education is up tenfold. So is access to health care. We are preparing for the second round of national elections. The Afghan Army, and increasingly the police, are growing and improving -- slowly, but clearly and steadily. And when I saw an Afghan fellow pull out his Apple iPhone in Kabul, while I was talking on my 5 year old NATO mobile, I saw another symbol of progress.
So there you have it. Forget about all the silly old indicators like GDP per capita, doctors per thousand, all of that. You can tell how well a country is doing by how many of its citizens have iPhones. Apparently.
Anyway, at least now we know why the Taliban keep making the local mobile providers cut off service - to avoid the morale-sapping fanboi contagion spreading any further. ®