State Department Watchdog Launches Review of Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
October 19, 2021 Updated: October 19, 2021

The State Department’s inspector general has initiated a review of how the Biden administration withdrew from Afghanistan.

The watchdog, or the State OIG, told members of Congress that it notified the State Department of several “oversight projects” related to the ending of operations at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, according to a letter obtained and published by Politico.

The OIG is reviewing the Special Immigrant Visa program, which gives visas to Afghans who fit certain criteria; the Afghans admitted as refugees into the United States; the resettlement of both Afghan refugees and visa recipients; and the emergency planning and execution by the Kabul embassy, including how it evacuated U.S. citizens and Afghans.

Due to “the elevated interest in this work by Congress,” acting Inspector General Diana Shaw wrote, the OIG informed committees that have oversight of the State Department of the reviews.

The initiation was confirmed by a spokesperson for Shaw’s agency.

“We can confirm that Acting IG Shaw notified congressional committees of this planned work yesterday in the areas you reference but we do not have additional information to share at this time. The notification to the congressional committees describes the work as reviews, not investigations,” a spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email.

“We appreciate the important mission of the Inspector General, and we will fully cooperate with the OIG’s work,” a spokesperson for the State Department told The Epoch Times via email.

The United States withdrew from Afghanistan on Aug. 30, ending a 20-year war there that started in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

President Joe Biden refused to extend the withdrawal deadline, even though over 100 Americans and thousands of Afghans who wanted to leave the country were left behind.

The way the withdrawal was handled drew bipartisan condemnation, though it has been largely defended by top officials in the administration, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“I have remarkable pride in what our people did, what our service members did, what our other colleagues across the government did to help,” Blinken said in September.

Still, there were mistakes made, he and others have acknowledged.

“We’re going to do everything we can moving forward to continue this mission and also to learn from it. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to the American people, to reflect on what we did, how we did it, what worked, what didn’t, what we can do better,” he said.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.