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Afghanistan: Did the Taliban seize a US biometrics device?

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In a worrying move, the Taliban could be in possession of a US military biometrics device containing the fingerprints and facial ID of thousands of Afghan civilians. Former US military personnel say the sensitive data could help identify Afghans who assisted coalition forces.

It’s one of the many worrying developments in the tragedy unfolding in Afghanistan. The US biometric database dubbed HIIDE, which was given by Washington to local authorities several years ago, is believed to have been seized by the Taliban. It was apparently left behind during the withdrawal of US forces.

We speak to Welton Chang, Chief Technology Officer at Human Rights First, about how this could expose those who worked with the US-led coalition to an even greater risk of reprisals. 

Among those Afghans fleeing the country since the Taliban took control is an-all girl robotics team. The young women, some of whom are in their teens, fled amid fears that the Taliban would not allow them to pursue their education. The group of budding engineers had previously won international prizes for their innovations. Their success earned them support from the previous Afghan government, which was helping build The Dreamer Institute at Kabul University in their honour.

Meanwhile, as the US retreats, China and Russia are now eyeing Afghanistan. They’re both after a big prize: the country’s rare earth minerals, which are crucial for the production of renewable energy technology.

And in Test 24, as the Paralympics take place in Tokyo, our tech editor Peter O’Brien shares with us a selection of some of the best innovations to make more sport available to people with disabilities.

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The Groucho

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