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Penguins of Afghanistan

Typical graveyard in Kandahar Province. Grave in Kandahar Province.

Whereas most Westerners have been thorougly inventoried by their governments (readers probably have many sorts of IDs ranging from birth certificates to fishing licenses), Afghans are still in the Penguin stage.  They’re just out there doing laps around the sun.  Most don’t know how many laps because they don’t know how old they are, and it’s not because they are orphans but because it doesn’t matter one iota.  A kid can drive when he can drive and shoot when he can shoot.

HIIDE sytem.

To take inventory, the military is using systems that soldiers often call “bats and hides,” or, more accurately, BAT and HIIDE, which are two different systems for collecting biometrics.   BAT= Biometrics Automated Toolset, while HIIDE = Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment.  This dispatch is about field usage of the HIIDE system made by

The HIIDE takes a photo, and software analyzes the face.

Photo, retina scan, fingerprints and text data make a record.

Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

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