Aid Groups Set 15-day Deadline for Kabul to Start ID Rollout

After continued delays in the roll out of the Electronic National Identity Cards (e-NIC) program, a number of aid organizations on Saturday warned the Afghan government to clarify their plan for launching it within the next 15 days or face cuts in funding.

Reportedly the e-NIC Department of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has already sent the draft plan for the program to the President and the Council of Ministers and it is waiting their approval.

Chairman of the e-NIC Department, Humayun Muhtat, said all preparations have been made, but that the identity cards’ issuance has been delayed on account of political issues.

“Our department will face serious financial problems in the upcoming 15 days if no improvements are made to the draft plan of the e-NIC issuance by the Council of Ministers this week,” Muhtat told TOLOnews.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Reforms Commission (ERC) has reiterated the importance of the e-NIC program to the success of future elections.

“It is difficult to include the e-NIC issuance in a short-term plan,” ERC member Assadullah Saadati said. “We want to suggest the e-NIC issuance as part of a short-term plan of reforms in the electoral system. There is a serious need.”

Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), Naeem Ayubzada, has said the program should be rolled out in at least 10 provinces before the next elections. “The e-NIC issuance is a serious need in bringing reforms to the electoral system,” he said. “They should implement this process in at least 10 provinces before the upcoming parliamentary elections.”

The e-NIC department has been preparing for the rollout process for the past several months. The Census Law has also been approved and there is no major procedural hurdles left, other than a stamp of approval from the executive branch.

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