Since a few months, the Afghan forces, in cooperation with US and NATO troops, are intensively using an eye scanner to identify and store profiles not only of prisoners but also of armed forces and police staff, to grant (or deny) access to certain areas using biometric identification.
The next step of this project is the creation of a database including a large chunk of the civilian population, and the issuance of more than 1.600.000 biometric identity cards (over a total population of about 29 million) by next May. The idea is to control groups of Talibans in the country, not only by verifying the identity of the person under scrutiny, but also their past, any crime history and, most importantly, the possible connections with enemy combatants.
In this way, the Afghan police intend to prevent any infiltration by the Taliban and their sympathizers, especially from abroad. The plan, which also provides some kind of census of the population, has met its share of obstacles and difficulties.
For example, the fact that in Afghanistan there are two similar biometric identification programs, one run by NATO forces (which already contains data from more than 400 thousand people) and one from the Afghan government, and the two systems used are not compatible and therefore not can communicate with each other, limiting their efficiency and reliability.
Therefore, a person who on the Afghan side is recognized as a friend, may not be stored in the NATO forces database, and even run the risk of being arrested for no reason.
The road to complete reliability of biometric identification is still long, and the communication between two different databases is only the first step.