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Soldiers’ education a top priority: Gen. Azimi

Soldiers’ education a top priority: Gen. Azimi

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Jan 30, 2014 - 17:25

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Defence on Thursday said it was paying ample attention to Afghan security personnel’s literacy, with tens of thousands of soldiers and policemen having completed such courses.

Ministry spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi, in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News rejected a recent report from a US watchdog, which claimed almost half of Afghan forces remained illiterate.

Under a $200 million programme, each member of Afghan National Security Forces was to have a basic reading comprehension by the end of 2014, with half of all personnel reading at a third-grade level.

But NATOinfo-icon officials call the goal unrealistic and unattainable, according to the report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistaninfo-icon Reconstructioninfo-icon (SIGAR).

The initiative has suffered from problems, including a turn-over rate of 30-50 percent and poor oversight that has left taxpayers on the hook for millions, SIGAR said.

It added the lack of defined requirements for classes and length of instruction resulted in one contractor billing for classes held for as little as two hours a month and for multiple classes at one site that could have been combined into one class.

While commenting on the report, Gen. Azimi said educating Afghan forces was among the ministry’s top priorities. Its objective was to ensure that no army official remained illiterate, he added.

The ministry leadership accorded top priority to Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers’ educationinfo-icon, the spokesman insisted, explaining that 719 instructors were currently teaching 35,332 personnel.

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