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News | May 16, 2023

Lead Inspector General for Operation Enduring Sentinel | January 1, 2023 - March 31, 2023


This Lead Inspector General (Lead IG) report to the United States Congress is the 6th report on Operation Enduring Sentinel (OES).  The report summarizes significant events involving OES and describes completed, ongoing, and planned Lead IG and partner agency oversight work.  This report covers the period from January 1, 2023, through March 31, 2023.  

This quarter, USCENTCOM aimed to close its intelligence gap in Afghanistan.  General Michael E. Kurilla, the commander of USCENTCOM, said that the DoD currently lacks the granularity to see the full picture of potential terrorist threats.  He said the DoD would be testing alternate airborne intelligence platforms capable of remaining aloft for extended periods.  He also said that increased intelligence collection will include both signals and human intelligence.

ISIS-K continued to destabilize Afghanistan this quarter with a series of high-profile attacks.  These included a bombing at the Kabul airport, an assassination and an attempted assassination of Taliban regional governors, and two separate bombings at the Taliban’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  General Kurilla said the Taliban is highly motivated to defeat ISIS-K but lacks the capabilities to prevent future terrorist attacks.  He said that ISIS-K could strike U.S. or Western interests abroad within 6 months if they prioritized such attacks.

U.S. diplomats engaged with the Taliban to promote U.S. priorities, including the safety of Americans in Afghanistan, relocation of U.S. Afghan allies, economic issues, counterterrorism, and human rights, especially concerning the Taliban’s repression of women and girls.  This quarter, the State Department provided permanent consular staffing in Qatar, UAE, and Pakistan to improve Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) and refugee processing.  This quarter, State issued 5,616 SIVs, an increase from the 3,490 issued the previous quarter.

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 four oversight reports related to OES.  As of March 31, 2023, the Lead IG agencies had 24 ongoing projects and 2 projects planned related to OES.

The Inspector General Act of 1978 provides a mandate for the three Lead IG agencies—the DoD OIG, State 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.