Afghan ID cards need biometrics

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Adding biometric data to Afghan ID cards could help cut down on the number of insurgents who travel into the country from its neighboring nations

General David Petraeus’ advice to implement national identification cards when battling insurgency may help reduce the number of insurgents in the war with Afghanistan, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Petraeus wrote Field Manual 3-24 about fighting insurgency in the Middle East, which explained "insurgencies often rely heavily on freedom of movement across porous borders," and calls for "conducting a census and issuing identification cards." The Wall Street Journal report applies this theory to the need for biometric identification cards in Afghanistan, which can help keep insurgents from traveling into the country.

Afghanistan shares borders with Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. While the country currently does employ a national ID card program, the cards issued to the country’s citizens, military and police do not carry any biometric security technology to verify identification of the card holder, according to the Wall Street Journal. With potential to house many immigrants who, according to Petraeus’ manual, may be a major contributing factor to the country’s insurgency, upgrading the country’s national identification cards to include the biometric information can provide a security measure that could reduce insurgency threats.

According to the CIA’s website, Afghanistan’s population currently stands just above 29.2 million people, but is "a significantly revised figure," and its population growth rate is nearly 2.5 percent.

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