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Despite $200 Million Effort, Nearly 50% of Afghan Forces Still Can’t Read

January 28, 2014

Special Inspector General for Reconstruction in Afghanistan (SIGAR) released a report on Tuesday that found that nearly half of the Afghan forces are illiterate despite the $200 million effort. reported, After inking three contracts worth about $200 million with OT Training Solutions, Insight Group, and the Higher Education Institute of Karwan in August 2010, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) neglected to follow up sufficiently with the contractors to monitor the progress of the trainees, the report says, and has failed to establish a good system for following up and ensuring the soldiers and police were actually trained.”

“In the report, released Tuesday by the congressionally-mandated Special Inspector General for Reconstruction in Afghanistan (SIGAR), NATO military officials interviewed by the SIGAR team in Afghanistan admitted that the program’s goal of 100 percent literacy for the Afghan National Security Forces may be “unrealistic” and “unattainable.”

The SIGAR report found that between July 2012 and February 2013 45 percent of the Afghan Police were sent out to their job without any form of literacy training. By February 2013, the Afghan Ministry of Defense had removed all training for literacy for their basic training program. continued, “SIGAR and NTM-A predicts that as a result of these training lapses and the failure to track recruits and their literacy training, as much as half of the Afghan National Security Force was likely still illiterate as of February 2013.”

“With attrition rates in the security force pushing 30 to 50 percent each year — with anywhere from 4,000 to 7,000 soldiers simply walking off the job each month, according to NATO’s estimates — it is difficult to measure how many of those troops had received literacy training, or even for those who did, how long they remained in the force.”

Just prior to the release of the SIGARs report, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) released a statement that they would be reforming the literacy program.

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