The Lead Inspector General report to the U.S. Congress on Operation Enduring Sentinel (OES) Afghanistan has been published (May 2023). The report provides an update on significant events in Afghanistan covering the period from January 1st to March 31st 2023.
Major Topics of Report
Intelligence Shortfalls. The commander of Unites States Central Command says that the Department of Defense lacks the ability to see the full picture of terrorist threats that could come from Afghanistan. He indicated that there is a need for new airborne intelligence platforms capable of remaining aloft in the region for extended periods of time. He also said that there is a need for increased intelligence collection – both signals and human intelligence.
ISKP. The Islamic State Khorsan Provice (ISKP) continues to mount attacks against Taliban officials and civilians in Afghanistan. The high-profile attacks include assassinations and bombings. ISKP could also strike U.S. or Western interests abroad within six months if they prioritized such attacks.
Diplomacy. U.S. diplomats continue to engage with the Taliban to promote U.S. interests. Issues under discussion include the safety of U.S. citizens in Afghanistan, relocation of U.S. Afghan allies, economy, terrorism, and human rights.
Assisting Afghan Allies (SIVs). The State Department is reported to have provided permanent consular staffing in Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan to improve Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) and refugee processing. The Department of State issued 5,616 SIVs this quarter. Afghan resettlement agencies in the United States are facing challenges due to the rapid pace of arrivals (from Afghanistan and elsewhere), difficulty in obtaining documentation, and limited staffing.
Humanitarian Situtation. The number of Afghans needing assistance in Afghanistan has doubled since 2020; more than 2/3s of the population is in need of assistance. The U.S. is providing $541 million in aid to Afghanistan in FY2023 focused on food, health, shelter, livelihoods, and education.
Operation Enduring Sentinel, Lead Inspector General Report to the United States Congress, January 1, 2023 – March 31, 2023, published May 18, 2023, PDF, 54 pages.
Photo: U.S. Marines assigned to the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command provide security at Hamid Karzai International Airport during the Kabul non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) in Afghanistan on August 18, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Mark Andries).
This article was first published by SOF News on May 19, 2023.