DERMALOG biometric devices arrive in Afghanistan ahead of national elections
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) of Afghanistan has begun transferring 22,000 biometric capture devices from DERMALOG that arrived in Kabul on Friday to the provinces where they will be used to verify the identities of voters in upcoming national elections, TOLOnews reports.
One device will be sent to each of 21,000 polling stations around the country, and the IEC recently began training hundreds of employees in their use.
“Packaging is in progress today. The devices will be sent by helicopters to 74 districts which are insecure and transferring through land is difficult. By the end of today army helicopters are supposed to transfer the devices along with sensitive and non-sensitive materials and the voter lists – which were printed – to the provinces. In the 70 insecure districts, the devices and materials will be sent tomorrow,” IEC spokesperson Sayed Hafizullah Hashemi said shortly after the devices arrived on Friday.
Several thousand devices arrived earlier, but the shipment of the remainder was delayed, and Afghanistan’s Presidential Palace ordered a charter flight to expedite the delivery. With elections less than two weeks away on October 20, election observers in the troubled country are concerned that the devices will not be ready in time.
“From operational point of view, the use of biometric system in the upcoming elections is impossible. In such a condition, if we go ahead to use biometric devices, it will create more confusions and it will be difficult for the election commission to manage the situation,” said Naeem Ayubzada, CEO of Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan.
“How the biometric system will be used? How the employees will be trained? How the materials which have not been transferred will be sent? How the materials will be divided among the 5,100 polling centers and how the people will be assured of fraud prevention?” asked Habibullah Shinwari, member of Election Watch Afghanistan.