Afghan government biometrics capabilities increase

Release No: UNRELEASED Oct. 6, 2010 PRINT | E-MAIL

KABUL, Afghanistan (Oct. 6, 2010) — Eleven Afghans graduated Oct. 4, from latent fingerprint and system administrator courses at the Ministry of the Interior Biometrics Center in Kabul, increasing the Afghan government’s ability to analyze and manage biometric data.

Nine of the Afghans graduated from a four-week latent print course and two Afghans graduated from a 22-week network administrator course.

The latent print course provided advanced training for students who already completed a basic fingerprinting class last year.  The nine top performers completed follow-on training about comparing, analyzing and evaluating partial fingerprints for criminal investigations.

The two network administrator students learned how to work on the Afghan Automated Biometric Identification System, which is the system used by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for storing biometric data.   The students learned how to replace hardware, set up networks, work on and maintain one of the most advanced computer systems in Afghanistan, said Doug Adamek, course instructor.

Afghan National Army Lt. Gen. Mirza Mohammed Yarmand, director of the Afghan Criminal Investigative Division, said Afghan biometrics capabilities grow daily and the graduates will conduct important work for the Afghan government.

“(Biometrics) solves half of our criminal cases,” Yarmand said.  “We know previously we were using the old systems and today, since we have nine latent fingerprint analysts, it helps us a lot in our program development.  We also have our systems administrator network people.  This really helps us in program development and having modern technology in our system.  When we have all these capabilities, we can say it’s a positive achievement for our department.”

Yarmand said the graduates will be remembered in Afghan history as biometrics pioneers, but they need to continue with their education.

“All the achievements we’ve reached so far are not enough,” Yarmand said.  “We need to do more.”

One of the instructors said the students will use their training to ensure Afghanistan has a safe future.

“The easy part is over and the really hard part is going to begin with your casework,” said Elizabeth Oliver, a contracted instructor. “I see excellent examiners, and you are going to take your part of what you do in the future for this country.  You’re going to protect and secure Afghanistan.”

The nine new members of the fingerprint analysis office will immediately begin work comparing latent finger prints obtained from crime scenes to 10-print exams from biometrics enrollments.  Once the 10-print exams pass a quality control check they are ingested into A-ABIS.  The fingerprint analysts seek matches of the unknown, mostly partial prints from crime scenes to those identified prints stored in the database.

Within the next few months, MOI’s Criminal Investigative Division expects it will receive thousands of electronic fingerprint transfers for analysis.  Afghan analysts will work side-by side with their former instructors and ultimately transition to running the entire fingerprint analysis office on their own.

The graduates will also help promote Rule of Law practices throughout the country. Biometrics, entirely voluntary on the part of law-abiding Afghan citizens, provides individuals undeniable identification which cannot be faked – thus separating the majority of contributing Afghan citizens from criminals and insurgents.

“You will be the future of Rule of Law in Afghanistan,” said Janeen DiGuiseppi, an FBI agent who advised the class.  “You will be the experts prosecutors and judges turn to, to testify to ensure criminals go to jail and innocent people are exonerated.”

The Afghan Ministry of Interior is working closely with Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 to implement a biometrics enrollment capability throughout Afghanistan to enable the sovereign Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to control its borders and establish a national database of Afghan citizens.