Advertising agency JWT Worldwide has set off on the hazard-strewn road to Afghanistan in a bid to encourage others to follow its lead.

The New York-headquartered shop, part of the WPP Group, is the first Western agency to open for business in capital Kabul in partnership with locally-based Altai Communication.

The latter currently markets Afghanistan's biggest cellphone operator, Roshan. Altai has also been involved in campaigns to change perceptions of disabled people and is devising a cross-media campaign to raise awareness on child trafficking.

Comments JWT ceo Bob Jeffrey: "After recovering from decades of conflict, Afghanistan needs economic support. We can contribute to the country's revitalization efforts and benefit from tapping into this nascent market."

He adds: "By investing in Afghanistan, we hope other companies will be inspired to join us."

Altai partner Frenchman Emmanuel de Dinechin concurs: "The private sector and foreign direct investments will fuel the Afghan economy, and the presence of an ad agency is often the first thing to attract these investments."

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff