Policing the world: U.S. spending on overseas police soared to $3.5 billion in 2009
The U.S. government pumped $3.5 billion into foreign police forces in 2009, an amount nearly 2,000 percent higher than the last time spending on overseas law enforcement was tallied two decades ago, the Government Accountability Office found.
Not surprisingly, most of the 2009 money – nearly $2 billion – went to train police forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the report. Afghanistan received $1.6 billion while Iraq got $377 million, and virtually all of the funding came from the Pentagon and State Department.
Questions have been repeatedly raised about whether American taxpayers are getting their money’s worth from the billions of dollars spent to rebuild civilian police forces in both countries.
For example, Afghan authorities don’t know how many police they have or whether everyone on payroll is doing their job, according to an audit released earlier this week by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction. The watchdog found poor recordkeeping for $1.5 billion spent by the United States and other international donors on an Afghan National Police program over several years.
About 21 percent of Afghan police employees are still paid in cash, which contributes to skimming and other forms of corruption, the watchdog said.