Operation Freedom's Sentinel
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Operation Freedom's Sentinel (OFS) is the official name used by the U.S. Government for the mission succeeding Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in continuation of the Global War on Terrorism. Operation Freedom's Sentinel is part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, which began on January 1, 2015. The primary focus of OFS, "will include two core components: working with allies and partners on Resolute Support, and continuing "counterterrorism operations against the remnants of Al-Qaeda to ensure that Afghanistan is never again used to stage attacks against our homeland." There are 17,148 NATO troops in Afghanistan as of June 2019.
|Operation Freedom's Sentinel|
|Part of the Global War on Terrorism, War in Afghanistan, Resolute Support Mission|
Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan -- Maj. Tracy Schmidt, 389th Fighter Squadron pilot, conducts pre-flight checks in an F-15E Strike Eagle here before takeoff June 26. Major Schmidt is deployed from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
Resolute Support Mission: 17,148 NATO troops (as of June 2019)
|Commanders and leaders|
Sardar Wali † |
After thirteen years of Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S. military and NATO allies shifted focus from major military operations to a smaller role of NATO-led training and assistance. While the bulk of the new mission was under the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission (RS), "a separate 'non-NATO' contingent of U.S. forces will participate in force protection, logistical support and counterterrorism activities."
An October 1, 2015, statement by Gen. John F. Campbell, commander, Resolute Support Mission, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan/ISAF, defined the U.S. military's objectives. "U.S. forces are now carrying out two well-defined missions: a Counter-Terrorism (CT) mission against the remnants of Al-Qaeda and the Resolute Support TAA mission in support of Afghan security forces. Our CT and TAA efforts are concurrent and complementary. While we continue to attack the remnants of Al-Qaeda, we are also building the ANDSF so that they can secure the Afghan people, win the peace, and contribute to stability throughout the region."
When OFS started U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan were at 9,800 troops. General Campbell requested an additional 1,000 troops while NATO troop levels were built up to a force of about 13,500. His request was granted. As of mid-2018, U.S. troop levels are at 14,000 troops in combined support of NATO RS missions and OFS.
The Lead Inspector General for Overseas Contingency Operations (Lead IG) is responsible for submitting a quarterly report on OFS to Congress. The quarterly report describes activities in support of OFS, as well as the work of the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the United States Agency for International Development to promote the U.S. Government’s policy goals in Afghanistan,
Excerpts from the January 1, 2018 - March 30, 2018 report:
General John Nicholson, Jr., Commander of Resolute Support and Commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) said this quarter that U.S. and Afghan forces were gaining momentum through the new South Asia strategy, and that the Taliban was shifting to "guerilla tactics and suicide attacks" because it was no longer able to carry out attacks to seize cities or districts. However, suicide attacks and bombings in Kabul and across Afghanistan resulted in hundreds of civilian casualties, and raised concerns among Afghans about whether the government can secure the country.
The United States faces multiple challenges in Afghanistan. Previous Lead IG quarterly reports identified several challenges facing Afghanistan and the OFS mission, including preparing to hold safe, credible parliamentary elections, defeating ISIS-K, and pressuring Pakistan to eliminate safe havens. During the quarter, the United States and Afghanistan continued to seek to address these challenges, though with limited progress, as detailed throughout this report.
This quarter, Lead IG agencies also observed the following emerging challenges that complicate the OFS mission and efforts to end the conflict:
Stemming the Attacks in Kabul
Managing Increased Violence in Afghanistan
- "'Probably the largest' al-Qaeda training camp ever destroyed in Afghanistan". the Washington post. October 30, 2015.
- "ICCT-Reed-Al-Qaeda-in-the-Indian-Subcontinent-May2016.pdf" (PDF). International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague. May 2016.
- "Meet Operation Freedom's Sentinel, the Pentagon's new mission in Afghanistan". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
- "Resolute Support Mission (RSM): Key Facts and Figures" (PDF).
- "NATO combat mission formally ends in Afghanistan". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
- "Operation Freedom's Sentinel and our continued security investment in Afghanistan". www.army.mil. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
- Sisk, Richard. "Amid Confusion, DoD Names New Mission 'Operation Freedom's Sentinel'". Military.com. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
- "OPERATION FREEDOM'S SENTINEL REPORT TO THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS JANUARY 1, 2018‒MARCH 31, 2018" (PDF).