The election commission says part of the 24,000 biometric devices were about to arrive in Kabul on Tuesday but it was delayed.
IEC Awaits Arrival Of Biometric Devices As Process Faces Delay
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) is awaiting the arrival of the biometric devices from Germany as part of the devices did not arrive in Kabul on Tuesday as per the plan.
Government had agreed with a German company, Dermalog, to provide the biometric system for elections. The total cost would be about 15 million euros and the company will send 24,000 units and other necessary equipment to Kabul by October 10.
According to the IEC, 4,400 devices arrived in Kabul on September 27. Another batch of the devices was about to arrive in the country on Tuesday but this did not happen. The commission says it awaits the arrival of the remaining devices so that it will decide on their transfer to other provinces.
The IEC spokesman Sayed Hafizullah Hashemi said government forces have said that they will not be able to transfer the biometric devices to polling centers in districtsif they do not receive them on time.
The IEC has considered over 5,100 polling centers across the country. There will be 21,000 polling stations -- each will be given one biometric device, the commission said.
“We have acknowledged them (the company) that our activities will be delayed as much as the arrival of the devices are delayed. Therefore, there is a concern. The Presidential Palace has ordered that a charter flight should transfer devices to Kabul. What we know is that all the materials have been packed and the transfer has started,” said Hashemi.
He acknowledged that 1,900 biometric printers have also arrived in Kabul.
The next mission for the devices is on government forces who will transfer the devices to every polling center across the country. Hashemi said the security forces are worried about not receiving the devices on time.
“Security forces are also concerned about a late arrival of biometric devices, but government has promised to transfer the materials to all polling centers using any possible way,” said Hashemi.
This comes after the Independent Election Commission on Saturday launched a three-day training program for 250 employees of the commission on the use of biometric system for election day. The employees will be sent to provincial centers to help other IEC staff members on use the devices, Hashemi said.
An electoral monitoring organization meanwhile called on the election commission to assure the nation that they are able to use biometric system for the parliamentary polls.
“The commission should not make the use of biometric system condition-based. It should take a serious decision on holding elections, it should decide whether it will use biometric system or not and it should make a good decision to hold a relatively transparent election,” said Yusuf Rasheed, CEO of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan.
The election commission said they have transferred the sensitive electoral materials to most of provinces and that they will then distribute the materials among 21,000 polling stations across the country.