The Inspector General of the State Department will begin an investigation over the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal earlier this year. The IG will launch a series of investigations looking into the end of President Joe Biden’s diplomatic operations in Afghanistan.
Special Immigrant Visa Program
The Inspector General is the internal watchdog of the State Department. For this investigation, the reviews will focus on the Special Immigrant Visa program.
This involves the thousands of Afghans processed for refugee admission into the US. It also covers the resettlement programs of the visa recipients.
In particular, the probe will also look into the emergency evacuation of the US Embassy in Kabul. It will also check on the evacuation of US citizens and Afghan nationals.
Additionally, the IG will also conclude three other reviews. All three remain tied with the Kabul evacuation. Other agencies might also conduct their own probes into what happened.
State Department IG Notified Congress of its Plan to Investigate
Diana Shaw, the State Department’s acting inspector general, notified Congress last Monday. In a letter to lawmakers, Shaw said that she will launch several oversight projects.
These projects connect to the cessation of military and diplomatic programs in Afghanistan.
“Given the elevated interest in this work by Congress and the unique circumstances requiring coordination across the Inspector General community, I wanted to notify our committees of jurisdiction of this important work,” Shaw wrote.
She sent copies of the letter to leaders of congressional panels. This includes the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee. Shaw also sent copies to the intelligence committees in both chambers.
Review, Not Investigation
The media asked State inspector general spokesperson Ryan Holden about the letter. Holden confirmed the IG’s plan but denied they were investigating.
“State OIG notified its committees of jurisdiction today of planned projects in the areas you mention. This work will be conducted in coordination with other members of the IG community.
However, it is inaccurate to say that these projects are investigations. We indicated to Congress that these projects will be reviews,” he said.
The congressional panel Shaw sent the letter to also make their own investigations. Most ended up criticizing the withdrawal as poorly planned and executed.
Consequently, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction might also investigate. Critics say that the government failed to properly coordinate among agencies.
They had months to work on this after Biden announced the withdrawal earlier this year. However, the withdrawal ended up in chaos. A few US troops ended up dead from bomb attacks. In addition, many Americans and Afghan refugees remain stranded in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s inspector general gave details on its planned three reviews. The first involves evaluating the botched drone strike that killed 10 civilians instead of ISIS targets.
The second is a review of the DoD’s screening process for displaced Afghans. The third involves an audit of the support for relocating Afghan nationals.
Lawmakers are taking an interest in the State’s SIV program. Launched in 2009, the SIV provides a direct pathway for Afghan interpreters to immigrate to the US. Despite the intentions, the program remains stuck in bureaucratic limbo.
Prior to the August withdrawal, some 18,000 applications remained stuck in the process.
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