WASHINGTON — The State Department's watchdog is opening multiple investigations into the end of U.S. diplomatic operations in Afghanistan, according to a letter the agency's Inspector General sent to Congress.
Acting Inspector General Diana Shaw notified Congress of the probes on Monday. In her letter, she said her office will review the Special Immigrant Visa program, Afghans processed for refugee admission into the U.S., the resettlement of refugees and visa recipients and the emergency evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Kabul. The news was first reported by Politico.
The probe will also "include evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan nationals,” according to a memorandum to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that was obtained by Politico.
Shaw also said her office will look into “several oversight projects” related to the withdrawal of U.S. troops and other military and diplomatic personnel from Afghanistan, according to a separate letter obtained by the outlet.
“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. The letter was sent to leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as the intelligence committees in both chambers, among others.
“State OIG notified its committees of jurisdiction today of planned projects in the areas you mention," State OIG spokesperson Ryan Holden told Politico. "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.”
When asked for comment, Holden told USA TODAY that Shaw "notified congressional committees of this planned work," but added "we do not have additional information to share at this time."
The evacuation of U.S. citizens and visa holders, along with the withdrawal of U.S. troops by an Aug. 31 deadline, culminated in a frenzied effort to get everyone out of Afghanistan as the Taliban regained control of the country.
More than 123,000 people were flown out of the country amid desperate attempts by Afghan civilians to board aircrafts. Several died in the chaos, including some who fell from departing military transport jets.
More than 2,400 U.S. troops died during the 20-year war, including 13 who were killed in a suicide bombing while aiding in evacuation efforts in Kabul. The total cost of the war is estimated at $2 trillion.
Reach out to Chelsey Cox on Twitter at @therealco.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: State Department inspector general to review Afghanistan exit