Afghanistan's Great App Escape


Midday this past summer in Kabul, the electricity went out in the neighborhood where I live. Power outages are frequent, lasting hours during high-usage periods. I needed the internet to turn in some work. I followed what ordinary Afghans are increasingly doing.

I booked a taxi to a café with a generator, using the Kaweyan app — a cab aggregator akin to Uber — which showed that “AR” had accepted the booking. He arrived within minutes and drove me toward central Kabul, taking an alternate route when we came upon a police roadblock, navigating around donkey carts and police with AK-47s. The café’s neighborhood was being sealed off.

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