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Report | Aug. 16, 2022

Lead Inspector General for Operation Enduring Sentinel and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel I Quarterly Report to the United States Congress I April 1, 2022 – June 30, 2022


Publicly Released: August 16, 2022

This Lead Inspector General (Lead IG) report to the United States Congress is the 3rd report on Operation Enduring Sentinel (OES) and the 29th quarterly report detailing Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (OFS).  The report summarizes significant events involving OES and OFS and describes completed, ongoing, and planned Lead IG and partner agency oversight work.  This report covers the period from April 1, 2022, through June 30, 2022.  

U.S. forces did not conduct any airstrikes in Afghanistan during the quarter, but after the quarter ended, a U.S. airstrike killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda, in Kabul on July 31.  The DoD continues to conduct surveillance of potential terrorist targets in Afghanistan, and its assessment of the number of terrorist fighters in Afghanistan remained unchanged from the previous quarter.

ISIS-K was the most active terrorist group in Afghanistan this quarter, claiming 80 attacks—a 90 percent increase from the previous quarter—including some complex attacks, demonstrating the group’s capability to strike multiple targets in quick succession.   Most of these attacks targeted Afghanistan’s Shia Hazara and Sufi religious minorities, civilian infrastructure, and neighboring countries—targeting security forces in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.  Through these attacks, ISIS-K aims to undermine Taliban rule and attract new recruits.

U.S. diplomats temporarily halted in-person, high-level engagements with the Taliban after the Taliban banned girls from attending secondary school in March.  U.S.-Taliban dialogue resumed in June with discussions on women’s rights, terrorism, the economy, and U.S. assistance for victims of the recent earthquake.  No sovereign country recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan this quarter, but some countries, including China, Russia, and Iran, permitted Taliban representatives to occupy and operate the Afghan embassies in their respective capitals.

The DoD estimated that U.S.-funded equipment valued at $7.12 billion was in the inventory of the former Afghan government when it collapsed, much of which has since been seized by the Taliban.  This included military aircraft, ground vehicles, weapons, and other military equipment.  The condition of these items was unknown, and the long-term operability of the vehicles was likely to deteriorate without U.S. contractor maintenance.  The U.S. military removed or destroyed nearly all major equipment used by U.S. troops in Afghanistan throughout the drawdown period in 2021.

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 9 reports and had 31 projects ongoing.

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.