Publicly Released: February 15, 2022
This Lead Inspector General (Lead IG) report to the United States Congress is the 27th quarterly report detailing Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (OFS) and the 1st report on Operation Enduring Sentinel (OES). The report summarizes significant events involving OFS and OES, and describes completed, ongoing, and planned Lead IG and partner agency oversight work. This report covers the period from October 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021.
OFS began on January 1, 2015. Lead IG authorities and responsibilities for OFS will continue through September 30, 2022. The Department of Defense (DoD) initiated OES on October 1, 2021 as the new U.S. mission to counter terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan. According to the DoD, OES will focus on combating terrorist threats in Afghanistan from over-the-horizon locations, providing counterterrorism assistance for regional allies, and supporting the Department of State’s (DoS) diplomatic efforts related to Afghanistan.
Neither the U.S. Government nor any other sovereign nation recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan during the quarter. However, the DoS conducted multiple engagements with the Taliban to advocate for U.S. national priorities related to counterterrorism, safe passage of U.S. and allied personnel still in Afghanistan, and human rights. The Taliban sought international recognition during the quarter and undertook efforts to build a functioning national government. However, the group dismantled institutions associated with democracy and the rule of law. The Taliban awarded the most senior positions in its government to members of the 1990’s Taliban regime, clerics, and former insurgent leaders, including several known terrorists.
Al-Qaeda maintained a low profile in Afghanistan during the quarter. Meanwhile, ISIS-Khorasan carried out a string of high profile terrorist attacks, including the bombings of two crowded Shia mosques and an attack on the military hospital in Kabul that killed a senior Taliban leader.
The U.S. Government continued its interagency efforts to evacuate U.S. citizens and eligible Afghans from Afghanistan under Operation Allies Rescue, and to resettle vulnerable Afghans in the Unites States under Operation Allies Welcome. Economic conditions in Afghanistan continued to worsen during quarter with 72 percent of the population affected by food shortages, according to the UN World Food Programme.
Lead IG and partner agencies continued to conduct oversight projects related to these operations following the U.S. withdrawal and from Afghanistan. During the quarter, the Lead IG agencies issued eight reports, including two management advisories by the DoD OIG related to relocation of Afghan evacuees at DoD facilities in Germany.
Section 8L of the Inspector General Act of 1978 provides a mandate for the three Lead IG agencies—the DoD OIG, DoS OIG, and U.S. Agency for International Development OIG—to work together to develop and carry out joint, comprehensive, and strategic oversight. Each IG retains statutory independence, but together they apply their extensive regional experience and in-depth institutional knowledge to conduct whole-of-government oversight of these overseas contingency operations.