View Full Version : Afghan ID cards meant to spot voter fraud stoke ethnic division

08-20-2016, 07:20 PM
Afghan ID cards meant to spot voter fraud stoke ethnic division (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/new-afghan-id-cards-the-size-of-a-large-pizza-create-ethnic-spat/2016/08/17/72e8b3ca-63da-11e6-9161-aa7c674b6ede_story.html)

The idea was to have a national ID card to not only prevent (or help prevent) voter fraud, but to foster a sense of nationalism. It just stoked ethnic division. Probably means the tribes aren't ready for a democratic nation.

It is one of the few things everyone in Afghanistan can agree on ó the need for a new, electronically readable, biometrically secure ID card that will help build a sense of national identity and prevent the kind of massive voter fraud that has marred the past two presidential elections.

The new card was promised by President Ashraf Ghani soon after he took office nearly two years ago and approved by parliament last year. It was designed by experts and financed by international donors. More than 9 million cards have been produced so far, and the cost of providing them to more than 20 million adults is expected to be well over $100 million.

Yet to date, not a single card has been issued to the public. Instead, the e-Tazkiras as they are called here, have become the latest casualty in an ongoing war of ethnic sensitivities that caused previous brouhahas, over the images on the Afghan currency and the language of the national anthem.

The e-Tazkiras were supposed to be an important early step in electoral reforms that would lead to local and parliamentary elections by this fall. But those have been repeatedly delayed, weakening the legitimacy of the struggling national unity (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/afghan-political-crisis-intensifies-as-two-year-anniversary-nears/2016/08/12/3575a5aa-6085-11e6-9fd0-0b47b4fac0a4_story.html)government. Ghani and his top electoral rival, Abdullah Abdullah, were pressured by U.S. officials into a power-sharing deal after the chaotic 2014 election.

The rollout of the ID cards was halted because of vocal opposition from various ethnic leaders, who objected to having ethnic background mentioned as part of each citizenís official identity. Some minority groups feared it would make them vulnerable to harassment, while some from the dominant Pashtun ethnic group worried it would reveal that their percentage of the population is less than they have always insisted.

Read the rest at the link.