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November 16, 2021

Inhofe Continues Aggressive Oversight of Biden's Disastrous Drawdown from Afghanistan

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is continuing his thorough, methodical review of the disastrous United States withdrawal from Afghanistan, sending Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin a second letter requesting detailed information related to how the Department of Defense is handling refugees and responding to new terrorism threats from the country.

“As the Senate Armed Services Committee continues its own review of what happened in Afghanistan, many questions remain unanswered. If we want to avoid repeating mistakes of the past, it’s important we understand what went wrong, and if we want to prevent terrorist attacks from happening in the future, Congress must have clear line of sight over our counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan,” Inhofe said. “That’s why I’m following up with Secretary Austin on these basic, but critical questions — because we haven’t received all the answers we need. Our troops and the American people deserve this.”

The letter follows Inhofe’s initial letter sent September 23, to which Secretary Austin responded on October 8.

Read the full letter here or below.

Dear Secretary Austin,

Thank you for your response to my September 23, 2021, letter regarding the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and our counterterrorism policy in Afghanistan, which we received on October 8, 2021.

In furtherance of the Committee’s oversight responsibilities, please submit the following information to the Committee not later than December 1, 2021:

Additional Responses to September 23, 2021, Letter:

1. The expected dates of transmission for answers to Questions 2, 4, 5, and 12 from my September 23, 2021, letter.

2. An accounting of any changes to the forces assigned to CENTCOM to conduct counterterrorism, compared to Answer 9a from your previous response.

3. An accounting of force elements described in your previous response to Question 7f that currently remain in theater.

4. An update on estimated timelines for completion of the investigations identified in the answer to Question 11 from the previous response.

DOD Support for Afghan Evacuees:

5. An accounting of Afghan evacuees currently housed on Department of Defense (DOD) bases, including:

a.      An accounting of the number of Afghan evacuees currently being housed on DOD bases;

b.      An accounting of how many Afghan evacuees previously housed on DOD bases have been resettled, and the location of such resettlement;

c.       An accounting of any criminal behavior within the population of evacuees;

d.      An accounting of any communicable diseases within the population of evacuees;

e.       The anticipated timeline for resettlement of the remaining evacuees; and

f.        A breakdown of evacuees currently being housed on DOD bases by category (Special Immigrant Visa recipients, Special Immigrant Visa applicants, refugees, parolees, etc.).

6. A description of any DOD plans to make a supplemental appropriations request to address the costs for ongoing housing, benefits, and other related support for Afghan evacuees, and the anticipated timeline for the submission of such a supplemental appropriations request.

DOD Coordination with Foreign Countries:

7. A detailed description of:

a.      The disposition of Afghan Air Force aircraft;

b.      Any negotiations or consultations conducted by the United States Government in relation to those aircraft; and

c.       The role of DOD personnel in such negotiations or consultations.

8. A summary of the role, if any, of DOD personnel in any ongoing negotiations or consultations with any foreign country regarding future basing or overflight rights, or with respect to any other matter related to U.S. operations in Afghanistan. 

9. A summary of the role, if any, of DOD personnel in any ongoing negotiations or consultations with any NATO country regarding any matter related to U.S. operations in Afghanistan.

10. An assessment of the anticipated reaction of the Pakistani government to the use of kinetic means by the DOD against al-Qaeda, ISIS-K, the Taliban, or any other terrorist organization in Afghanistan.

Intelligence and Counterterrorism Efforts in Afghanistan:. 

11. A description of the number and type of human intelligence assets utilized by the DOD in Afghanistan on: (a) January 1, 2020, (b) January 21, 2021, (c) August 30, 2021, and (d) the date of this letter. This description should also address any plans to expand, sustain, or decrease DOD human intelligence networks in Afghanistan going forward.

12. A description of the number and type of manned aerial intelligence assets available in theater to carry out missions in Afghanistan on: (a) January 1, 2020, (b) January 21, 2021, (c) August 30, 2021, and (d) the date of this letter, including:

a.      The type of assets and payloads, and an identification of the origin of such assets;

b.      The hours of coverage per day; and

c.       Any plans related to the number and type of such assets going forward in Afghanistan.

13. A description of the number and type of unmanned aerial intelligence assets available in theater to carry out missions in Afghanistan on: (a) January 1, 2020, (b) January 21, 2021, (c) August 30, 2021, and (d) the date of this letter, including:

a.      The type of assets and payloads, and an identification of the origin of such assets;

b.      The hours of coverage per day; and

c.       Any plans related to the number and type of such assets going forward in Afghanistan.

14.  A comparison of: the total aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) coverage in Afghanistan in flight hours per day of DOD manned and unmanned aerial platforms as of the date of this letter compared to one year prior. 

 15. DOD’s estimate of the minimum elapsed time for any aircraft in theater carrying a strike payload to arrive in representative locations in Afghanistan, such as Nangarhar or Kandahar Provinces.

16. A comparison of the number and type of DOD force elements and individual platforms in theater on September 1, 2021, with those in theater as of the date of this letter.

Terrorist Threat:

17. A current assessment of ISIS-K intent and capabilities, and a current assessment of the anticipated timeline for ISIS-K to have the capability to threaten the U.S. homeland.

18. A current assessment of al-Qaeda intent and capabilities, and a current assessment of the anticipated timeline for al-Qaeda to have the capability to threaten the U.S. homeland.

19.  A description of indicators and warnings specific to ISIS-K and al-Qaeda that DOD uses to generate threat timelines. Please include in this response a summary of any cases in the past in which the actual behavior of ISIS-K or al-Qaeda had not comported with threat timelines applicable at the time.

a.      A description of the indicators and warnings used to generate warnings about an imminent attack prior to the attack on HKIA on August 26, 2021

I ask that this information be submitted in an unclassified form where possible, and in a classified form where necessary. I appreciate your assistance in facilitating this request.  Additionally, I request that we schedule briefings for Senate Armed Services Committee staff to discuss Questions 7b and 9 of my September 23, 2021, letter.

Sincerely,

James M. Inhofe                                                         

Ranking Member                                                       

Senate Committee on Armed Services                      

Cc:

General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

General Kenneth McKenzie, Commander, United States Central Command


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