In an attempt to circumvent the corruption that has long kept Afghanistan in the shape everyone knows and invades, NATO has set up a novel system for paying the Afghani soldiers they are training.
(Historically, the company leaders would be entrusted with a lump sum to be distributed to individual soldiers – this turned out to be a great system for making rich company leaders.)
The International Telecommunication Union says 72 percent of Afghanistan’s population is now covered by a cell phone signal. By contrast, fewer than one person in a hundred has a fixed telephone line.
– An otherwise unrelated The Cutting Edge News article from last year
Cellphones are apparently as ubiquitous in Afghanistan as anywhere else, a fact that is now being exploited. A text message with a unique code is sent to Afghan troops, who can then take the code to a local cellphone chain store and exchange it for cash. NATO reimburses the chain stores, and the circle of life is complete.
More info is available at Associated Content, or at your local recruiting station.