On April 14, 2021, President Biden announced plans to complete the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. As the Taliban entered Kabul on August 15, 2021, the Afghan President fled the country, and the country’s security forces collapsed. In response, the Department of State (Department) and the Department of Defense evacuated U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and allies, including Afghan SIV applicants, from Afghanistan. After the evacuation, the Department suspended operations at Embassy Kabul on August 31, 2021, and moved some of its operations in September 2021 to Embassy Doha, Qatar.
OIG conducted this review to respond to specific congressional requests1 regarding the (1) Department’s efforts to develop contingency plans for the safe relocation of Afghan SIV holders from Afghanistan prior to August 31, 2021, (2) the number of Afghan SIV holders remaining in Afghanistan after August 31, 2021, (3) the resettlement outcomes for Afghan SIV holders compared with the outcomes for other participants in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), and (4) the number of Afghan SIV holders becoming naturalized U.S. citizens.
1 Letter from Rep. Ami Bera, M.D., Chairman, Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation, September 30, 2021; letter from James E. Risch, Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee; James M. Inhofe, Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee; and Rob Portman, Ranking Member, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, October 21, 2021. OIG issued a series of reports to address questions from Congress: Information Report: Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program Metrics (AUD-MERO-22-38, September 2022) and Compliance Follow-Up Review of the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program (AUD-MERO-23-01, October 2022). Additional OIG reports are being prepared to address the remaining questions, as well as additional topic areas outlined in the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, Public Law 117-263, § 5275.