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Distribution of biometric identity cards awaiting Ghani’s order

AT-KABUL: The distribution of the electronic identity cards is awaiting President Ashraf Ghani’s order, the population registration department said, urging that the process would not kick off until the president sanctions it.

The president and the first lady registered for biometric cards two weeks ago, but the ID cards are yet to be printed, according to the department.

The department’s spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said Monday that the ID cards would be printed once the president was ready to take it.

“The biometric process for the staff of the presidential palace has been halted since Saturday,” Ahmadzai said, adding that the process was only waiting for Ghani’s order to restart.

President’s office has not yet commented about the restart of the process, but an official close to president Ghani said that the process was halted because Ghani was busy with the TAPI inauguration in Herat province. He added that the process would soon begin.

The process became controversial as some people including senior government officials opposed the word ‘Afghan’ as nationality, even threatening they would not take the ID card.

The chief executive said the distribution of the ID card needs more discussions to reach a national consensus.

But the population registration department said that so far 600 government officials and civil society activists have got biometric.

Meanwhile, senate members criticize the process as “symbolic”, saying there was serious decision in this regard.

“There is technical problem, all the machineries are available to print 40,000 ID cards per day. But we don’t see any practical measures and all is symbolic,” said senator Faisal Sami.

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