Turner asks Biden to cooperate in Afghanistan oversight

FILE - In this photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, an Air Force aircrew, assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, prepares to receive soldiers, assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, to board a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in support of the final noncombatant evacuation operation missions at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 30, 2021. The U.S. airlifted 124,000 people out of Kabul over about six weeks as the American-backed Afghan military and government fell to the Taliban. (Senior Airman Taylor Crul/U.S. Air Force via AP, File)

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FILE - In this photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, an Air Force aircrew, assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, prepares to receive soldiers, assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, to board a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in support of the final noncombatant evacuation operation missions at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 30, 2021. The U.S. airlifted 124,000 people out of Kabul over about six weeks as the American-backed Afghan military and government fell to the Taliban. (Senior Airman Taylor Crul/U.S. Air Force via AP, File)

In a new letter, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner asks President Joe Biden to cooperate with an inspector general’s examination of taxpayer funded operations in Afghanistan, before and after last August’s withdrawal of the U.S. military from that country.

The letter was prompted by what Turner called a failure by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide “any meaningful documentation related to Afghanistan” in nearly a year.

ExploreWright-Patt air wing plays role as scheduled Afghanistan pullout ends

“I am concerned that further delays will significantly obstruct SIGAR’s necessary oversight work,” Turner wrote in a letter to the administration late last week. “I urge you to make all efforts to ensure that the historic cooperation between SIGAR and the Department of State and USAID recommence.”

Congress created the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in 2008 to oversee operations in Afghanistan.

Turner contends that USAID and State have yet to provide information and assistance requested by SIGAR.

“This is a recent development,” the Dayton Republican wrote in his letter. “For more than a decade, administrations of both parties have cooperated with SIGAR’s investigative efforts in accordance with U.S. law and provided timely and thorough responses.”

A spokeswoman for Turner said the administration has not responded beyond confirming receipt of the congressman’s letter.

The White House holds that administration agencies are complying with multiple reviews, including those from SIGAR and congressional committees.

“We of course believe in transparency and the importance of independent and appropriate oversight, including by inspectors general across the government,” a White House spokesman said in response to questions.

A message was also sent to a representative of the SIGAR office.

Turner’s letter can be found here.

America ended a 20-year war in Afghanistan last August, evacuating more than 120,000 U.S. citizens and allies in just over two weeks. The frantic final exit cost the lives of more than 180 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members, some barely older than the war.

The Air Force Reserve Command confirmed last year that the 445th Airlift Wing, based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, played a role in the withdrawal and evacuation.

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