Afghanistan rolls out electronic ID cards despite opposition

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan is rolling out long-delayed electronic ID cards as a measure President Ashraf Ghani insists is "important to help fight terrorist attacks."

Ghani and some senior officials were the first to receive their cards in Kabul on Thursday.

Last December, the Afghan parliament approved Ghani's decree on the ID card, which unlike its simple predecessors made of paper has a chip that will be tied to the country's electronic database.

Militants have often used fake ID cards to pass through security checkpoints and enter big urban centers to stage attacks there.

But some in the government of Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah have voiced opposition to the cards because they denote a person's ethnicity and religion — and as such could be used to discriminate against ethnic Hazaras and other minorities.

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