While the exact number of individuals in the database is unclear, an Air Force medic the publication talked to said he was instructed to scan the irises, take the fingerprints and photograph the face of every Afghan who came through the hospital doors while he was in service. Other military officers had to the same thing. The goal was to have an extensive database of fingerprints that authorities can search in the event a bomb is found.
That said, since the US military scanned anyone and everyone, one of the vets who helped collect Afghans’ biometrics said it could be difficult to use the database to find specific individuals to target. Someone being in the database doesn’t necessarily mean they worked with the US government or women’s rights organizations. Department of Defense spokesperson Eric Pahon also denied that Afghans’ biometric data is at risk. He told NBC News that “The U.S. has taken prudent actions to ensure that sensitive data does not fall into the Taliban’s hands. This data is not at risk of misuse,”
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