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Afghanistan digital ID woes: applicants cry foul over delays as printing suspended

Afghanistan digital ID woes: applicants cry foul over delays as printing suspended

Applicants for the national digital ID card in Afghanistan could have to wait many more weeks before the credential is delivered to them.

Local news portals are quoting unnamed sources as saying the government has suspended printing of cards because the National Statistics and Information Authority (NSIA) has run out of blank cards.

The plastic cards used for the Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) are manufactured abroad then have the individual’s details added locally. Stocks of these preformatted cards have run out, while other reports find that identity service offices have been asked only to print cards until 2pm. Applicants who had successfully registered for the digital ID online before the halt can continue to show up at NSIA offices for their biometrics capture, reports Pajhwork.

The outlet writes that it saw a note which was sent to NSIA branches in Kabul and in the provinces in July which calls for the continuation of registration of new applicants despite the break in printing.

Also, while the applicants are complaining that many of them have not had their cards issued, others say even online registration has been disrupted for some time now as the dedicated website is not working properly.

Tolonews quotes a number of the ID card applicants who said they have been coming from afar to collect their ID cards, but have not been able to secure them as a result of the halt in printing. Others said they were unable to submit applications.

Both Pajhwork and Tolonews mention that their attempts to get comments from NSIA authorities on the matter proved futile.

A plan to roll out digital IDs for all Afghans kicked off in 2018, and over 8 million IDs have been issued since then, while around 2.1 million of them have been delivered since the coming into place of the Taliban administration a year ago.

Earlier this year, Afghanistan officials announced a plan to begin the registration of SIM cards with biometrics in order to fight the rising wave of phone-assisted crime in the country.

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