The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, known as SIGAR, issued a blistering audit Thursday that said the Obama administration has no comprehensive plan to develop the rule of law in Afghanistan, no way of measuring progress, and no way of understanding how it's spending money on rule of law programs in the country.
SIGAR said the lack of a full strategy would lead to waste and make it impossible to determine if any progress is being made.
"U.S. agencies lack a current, comprehensive interagency rule of law strategy to help plan and guide U.S. rule of law development efforts in Afghanistan," it said. "Without an agreed upon strategy, the U.S. risks spending taxpayer funds on programs in a haphazard manner and without assurance that the U.S. is achieving its goals."
SIGAR's audit said the Departments of Defense, State and Justice, plus the U.S. Agency for International Development, have spent more than $1 billion to develop the rule of law in Afghanistan.
"However, DoD could not identify all the rule of law funds it has spent to date, and without a better system, DoD will continue to lack financial accountability for taxpayer-funded rule of law programs," it said.
"Spending over $1 billion dollars without having a credible level of planning and measuring for results leaves the U.S. uninformed on what its investments are accomplishing, and at significant risk of making misguided program and funding decisions going forward," it added.
The audit said some of the problem is "pervasive corruption" among Afghanistan's justice officials, and said U.S. agencies have openly wondered if they are up to the task.
"DoD, DoJ, State and USAID officials told SIGAR that U.S. anticorruption efforts have not been successful because, among other things, the Afghan government has lacked the political will and commitment to tackle corruption in the justice system," it said.