When NATO troops help training the Afghan police, the more intensive classes are not marksmanship, patrolling or riot control. They are about reading and writing.
Only 11% of core staff and 35% of the NCO in the army and Afghan police are literate, according to NATO trainers.
That is undermining the effectiveness of the troops at a time when NATO is working to prepare local security forces to eventually hand power.
There have been numerous reports of illiterate members of Afghan security forces getting into trouble. An army unit called an air strike against itself in July because no one could read the map. Officials who can not read the serial numbers of their weapons, do not even know what caliber they should use. A unit was set up in a checkpoint, but could not read the identification cards of passing motorists.
Often the police can not write the statements of witnesses or examine the laws. In some cases, police chiefs were stealing the wages of their subordinates, and their illiterate recruits could not detect the theft.