KABUL – War-torn Afghanistan lacks basic national infrastructure, yet on Sunday the government unveiled plans for a $100 million electronic identification system with cards to be issued to all Afghans within five years.
A chip in the wallet-size identification cards will hold a drivers’ license, vehicle registration, signature and voting registration and would aid fairer, more transparent and efficient future elections, the Ministry of Communications said.
After three decades of conflict, Afghanistan is struggling to rebuild its economy and crumbling infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water access.
A September parliamentary election was tainted by widespread allegations of fraud, including reports of fake voter identification cards and repeat voting.
“We consider this a very important initiative for the development of Afghanistan,” Minister for Communication and Information Technology Amirzai Sangeen told a news conference at which a $101.5 million contract for the project was signed with Afghan company Grand Technology Resources.
“In our country the need for having proper identification is a very urgent matter,” he said. “Giving ID cards to everyone is a process … probably it is a three to five year process.”
The Ministry of Finance will fund the project from its development budget, as the government believes the system will help improve the country’s security.
Distributing ID cards in insurgent strongholds in the south and east of the country could prove difficult, however, as insurgents often intimidate or target Afghans seen to be cooperating with the government or foreign troops.
US sanctions Chinese oil trader for violating Iran restrictions: Pompeo
The United States is placing a leading Chinese oil importer on its sanctions blacklist for trading in Iranian crude, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday.
"As part of that maximum pressure campaign, I am announcing that the United States is imposing sanctions on the Chinese entity Zhuhai Zhenrong and its chief executive Youmin Li," Pompeo said in a speech.
"They violated US law by accepting crude oil," he said.
The announcement was the latest step by Washington to ratchet up economic pressure on Tehran over its alleged military activities in the Middle East and its nuclear program by taking aim at business partners.
Trump says he could win Afghanistan war ‘in a week’ by wiping country ‘off the face of the Earth’
President Donald Trump said that he could win the war in Afghanistan in a week if the country was "wiped off the face of the Earth."
Trump made the remarks on Monday during a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minsister Imran Khan, according to a White House pool report.
“I could win that war in a week," Trump reportedly said. "I don’t want to kill 10 million people. Afghanistan could be wiped off the face of the Earth. I don’t want to go that route.”
Just in, Trump’s comments on Afgahanistan, via pooler @DavidNakamura: “I could win that war in a week. I don’t want to kill 10 million people. Afghanistan could be wiped off the face of the earth. I don’t want to go that route.”
French inventor to hover across English Channel on ‘flyboard’
A French inventor aims to soar across the English Channel this week on a jet-powered "flyboard", despite authorities warning the stunt is a danger to shipping.
Former jet-skiing champion Franky Zapata has pledged to go ahead on Thursday on his device, which can reach speeds up to 190 kilometres an hour (118 mph).
It will come 10 days days after the entrepreneur wowed crowds when he flew above the Champs-Elysees boulevard in Paris in front of President Emmanuel Macron for the annual July 14 military parade.
But authorities are divided over the daredevil venture, which will mark 110 years to the day since Frenchmen Louis Bleriot made the first aeroplane flight across the Channel.