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    Distribution of computerised ID cards in March

    KABUL (PAN): Succumbing to mounting pressure from opposition parties, the government on Sunday announced it would start the distribution of computerised identity cards from March 21.

    The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) said it had signed a contract to the effect on Dec. 12, 2010 with an IT firm called General Technology Resources (GTR).

    A ministry statement said the distribution would start in Kabul, calling the 120 million afghanis project crucial to enabling the government to devise an effective security strategy and collect correct data about the country’s population.

    Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Amirzai Sangin said they had made some progress as the technical system was complete and plans were being prepared to launch the distribution process this spring.

    He added computerised identity cards had been "beautifully designed", reflecting the 2,000-year-old history of Afghanistan. The cards have three pages as decided by the Cabinet. Identification notes are in Dari, Pashtu and English.

    He said Afghanistan would be no longer among the countries whose citizens used paper cards, but feared such identity cards could be easily fabricated or one could have two or three copies.

    “On this project, the interior ministry is helping us; the distribution is the responsibility of the relevant ministry and our duty is to put in place a system, train interior ministry’s personal and provide technical safety,” Sangin explained.