President Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal is about to get a closer look. The State Department’s Inspector General is launching “several oversight projects” into the final diplomatic operations in the country, congressional and State Department officials said.
“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,” Diana Shaw, the State Department’s acting inspector general, told the heads of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House and Senate intelligence committees.
According to Politico, which obtained a copy of an Oct. 15 action memorandum to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the probes will look into the Department’s “Special Immigrant Visa program; Afghans processed for refugee admission into the U.S.; resettlement of those refugees and visa recipients; and the emergency evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul ‘to include evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan nationals.’”
State inspector general spokesperson Ryan Holden told Politico it’s “inaccurate to say that these projects are investigations.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Friday that at least 129 U.S. citizens and 115 lawful permanent residents were flown out of Afghanistan since Aug. 31, but it’s unknown how many are left. Estimates for the number of Afghan allies that remain go as high as 75,000. In early September, one State Department official said the “majority” of Special Immigrant Visa applicants were left behind.
According to Politico, other inspector general offices will likely launch similar probes.