I'm not sure what Jaap de Hoop Schepper was going on about here, but I'm slightly distressed that people are *still* being all impressed that there are mobile phones in Afghanistan/Iraq; someone even brought this up for John McCain last year. Roshan has been going for what, five years now? And, of course, the kind of Afghan Hoop is likely to meet is not very typical.
This sounds more useful; someone's sent a rapid-prototyping fablab to Jalalabad, and if you got around those syllables you can have a point. Unfortunately, I get the impression that they're struggling a bit for projects if they've so far been printing T-shirts and WLAN antennas; wide-area WLAN is one of those things that Doesn't Work, and if it Doesn't Work in Mountain View I suspect it won't somewhere where the only view is the mountains. It's not so much the Mick and Ruth approach as Mick and Ruth call for some family tech support. And Roshan will be on the scene when they're long back on campus.
What about...God knows what. Small wind turbines. Motorbike parts. Plumbing.
Anyway, I notice that the project has its own expat security guards (working at cost, we're told), which doesn't make the heart go wham!, and a weblog which is strange but not more strange than you might expect in the circumstances. But then, if they can offer a better Internet caff than the Iranians they're doing their country a service. It remains to be seen if they're doing any other country a service.
Although, they're probably more practical use than a gaggle of CIA-funded anthropologists would have been in the 1960s.