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ISAF constructs new biometrics facility, improves security at Afghan border

June 14, 2011

By Senior Airman Jessica Lockoski, 16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Soldiers assigned to 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade and Afghan government officials attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new biometrics facility at the Weesh border crossing point, Afghanistan, June 9.

The new facility, which is aimed at gathering forensic data from individuals, will improve the overall security of pedestrian traffic entering Afghanistan from Pakistan, said Capt. Vivian Chiu, Border Actions officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 525th BfSB.
Of the thousands of people entering Afghanistan daily, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan-run facility will allow Afghans to identify individuals suspected of insurgent or criminal activity, Chiu added.

Construction of the facility began in January with the help of ISAF and is now in the hands of Afghan biometric technicians with help from the Afghan Border Police who monitor the crossing.
“As people come across the border, some will be chosen to go through the facility,” said Ehmadullah Ahmadi, director, Weesh biometrics facility. “They will be questioned by [biometrics technician] as to their activities and where they specifically live.”

Biometric technicians will electronically finger print and scan the irises of individuals. The data will be entered into a database to help discern the good guys from the bad guys at the border.
“The Taliban is aware of the technology, so they are scared to put their hands on the machines,” said Ahmadi. “As soon as they put their fingers on the machine, some start shaking and sweating. We can sometimes catch them right away.”

Ahmadi said there is a separate section of the facility where female members of the ABP will process female pedestrians. Children who are at least 10 years old will also be enrolled into the biometrics system.

There are 18 booths in the building to allow a steady flow of traffic during hours the Friendship Gate at the border crossing is open.

“This entry point into Afghanistan is like a door to a home,” said Ahmadi. “It needs to be strong to be able to keep the wrong people out of it. There are many people that travel through this area because they live in Pakistan and work in Afghanistan; we will be able to help weed out the bad from the good people coming into this country.”

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