Aug. 17, 2017 —
This Lead Inspector General (Lead IG) report to the United States Congress on Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (OFS) is the ninth quarterly report detailing the overseas contingency operation (OCO). The report summarizes significant events involving OFS and describes completed, ongoing, and planned Lead IG and oversight partner agency work related to this OCO. This report covers the period from April 1, 2017 to June 30, 2017.
Under OFS, U.S. forces are conducting two complementary missions: 1) counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda, its associates in Afghanistan, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan (ISIS-K); and 2) training, advising, and assisting the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led Resolute Support Mission. U.S. counterterrorism efforts remain focused on preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists planning attacks against the U.S. homeland and against U.S. interests and partners. The objective of the Resolute Support Mission is to develop self-sustaining Afghan security forces that are capable of maintaining security under responsible Afghan civilian authorities.
The conflict in Afghanistan intensified this quarter as the Taliban mounted widespread attacks against Afghan military facilities, including an attack on the Afghan National Army’s 209th Corps Headquarters that killed 144 and wounded 65. The Taliban also increased pressure on Kunduz City with major attacks in surrounding towns in an attempt to capture and control the provincial capital. The report examined some of the factors contributing to the Taliban’s resilience in the face of counterinsurgency operations.
This quarter also saw the deadliest single attack in Afghanistan since 2001, when a truck bomb detonated in Kabul’s busy diplomatic zone, leaving over 150 dead and 300 injured. ISIS-K continued to prove a resilient threat, quickly regenerating its forces despite aggressive U.S. and Afghan counterterrorism operations that killed 750 ISIS-K fighters. These operations included the April 13 dropping of the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, the largest conventional weapon ever employed in combat, which was used to collapse a network of tunnels used by ISIS-K in the mountainous redoubts of the Nangarhar province.
Lead IG and partner oversight agencies released six reports during this quarter that examined military facilities and embassy building construction, uniforms and equipment for the security forces, a DoS antiterrorism assistance program, and “Leahy Law” implementation in Afghanistan. As of the end of the quarter, 53 oversight projects were either ongoing or planned to begin by the end of FY 2017. The Lead IG investigative components and the military investigative organizations initiated eight investigations related to OFS, involving allegations of procurement or program fraud, theft, and trafficking in persons. One OFS-related investigation was closed this quarter; 33 remained open.
Beginning this quarter, the Lead IG report on OFS is accompanied by a classified appendix, which provides additional related information. This appendix is distributed and made available to the appropriate government agencies and congressional committees.