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New iPhone app helps soldiers track the Taliban

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Soldier with iPhone

It's time, once again, to dust off your best (and worst) "there's an app for that!" jokes: in unexpected and cool news from Afghanistan, a U.S. Army captain has developed and iPhone app to help soldiers track members of the Taliban, and it will likely be available in the Apple store as soon as next month.

Using $26,000 of his own money, fire support officer Jonathan Springer developed the app while stationed in Afghanistan with the help of programmers and said, "Basically, the issue was the fact that these smartphones were being untapped by the army and I was motivated and determined to change that, even if it cost me my own money out of pocket to do so." The app can be used for mapping, plotting, and photographing battleground waypoints, conveying coordinates to supporting units, as well as to call in support and direct artillery fire.

Springer said that the app was designed specifically for soldiers, many of whom already use smartphones. No word yet on whether or not it will also be available to the vicariously obsessed, war-trivia-spouting uncles of the world, but either way, an interesting development.