Taliban using biometric system in Baghlan to identify officials
KABUL (Pajhwok): A civil society group claimed on Thursday the biometric system in northern Baghlan province had been given in control of the Taliban insurgents, fearing the province could fall if the responsible officials were not arrested.
The group “Network of Youth for Reform and Change” claimed the Taliban used to identify an area and then capture it benefiting from the biometric system.
A biometric system is a technological system that uses information about a person’s distinguishing biological traits. Unique identifiers include fingerprints, hand geometry, earlobe geometry, retina and iris patterns, voice waves, DNA, and signatures.
Syed Misum, the network’s deputy head, told a press conference here that the Baghlan’s situation had been worrisome over the past few years, but it was feared the province could experience a Kunduz-like scenario and lose gains achieved over the past 15 years.
The Taliban briefly captured Kunduz City, the capital of northern Kunduz province, last year before being driven gradually by the Afghan security forces. It was the first urban centre falling to the Taliban since they were ousted from power in 2001 under the movement’s new supreme leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour.
He said the Taliban had made their presence felt in areas two kilometers from the provincial capital, Pul-i-Khumri, due to incompetency of the provincial officials.
Without going into details, he said important areas in Baghlan were either in hands of insurgents or besieged by them because reinforcements did not reach in-time and the security forces in the province had not been fully equipped.
“The Taliban will never return to power, thanks to the courage of our security forces, but the government should identify traitor officials and bring them to justice.”
He urged the government leaders to identify security officials who spied for the enemy and punish them, but named no one. He said the Taliban using the biometric system identified government officials and take them hostage. But he did not say how many have been seized by the rebels so far.
The group in a statement asked the government to sack the Baghlan governor, Abdul Sattar Barez, his deputy Abdul Qadim Niazi and the police chief, Brig. Gen. Mohamad Owiz Nazari for being inefficient and prosecute them.
It demanded the government clear the Kabul-Mazar-i-Sharif highway from the presence of insurgents and take every step possible to subdue the rebels in Baghlan.
The group also urged the Taliban and other insurgent groups to arrive at the negotiating table with the government.
But Governor Barez rejected he and other provincial government officials were inefficient, claiming the rebels paid a heavy price since he took office as the governor six months back.
He said the authority to launch military operations rested with the central government and provincial governments had no authority in this regard, blaming the current conflict in Baghlan on foreign intelligence agencies.
About the Network of Youth for Reform and Change, the governor said the network had no physical presence in Baghlan and it could be possibly created by some political groups to defame local officials.
About Taliban’s access to the biometric system, the governor said he had not received any report in this regard.