KABUL: The United States military left behind dozens of service dogs in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan as it raced against time to meet the August 31 deadline for a complete withdrawal from the South Asian Islamic nation.
Major animal welfare groups have strongly condemned the US military for abandoning these contracted service dogs as they exited from the war-ravaged nation.
‘Veteran Sheepdogs of America’, a non-profit organisation, is now working to evacuate these poor animals from Afghanistan along with other groups.
US military left behind dozens of service dogs in Afghanistan.
The nonprofit org ‘Veteran Sheepdogs of America’ are working to evacuate the animals. pic.twitter.com/58EbrLUiz3
— ASB News / MILITARY (@ASBMilitary) August 31, 2021
“These brave dogs do the same dangerous, lifesaving work as our military working dogs, and deserved a far better fate than the one to which they have been condemned,” Robin R Ganzert, animal welfare group American Humane’s president and CEO, said.
“It sickens us to sit idly by and watch these brave dogs who valiantly served our country be put to death or worse,” he said.
Earlier this month, three Indian service dogs – Maya, Ruby and Bobby – that were deployed at the Indian Embassy in Kabul, along with 99 Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel, were repatriated by the Indian Air Force during the evacuation process.
The United States completed the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan on Monday, ending 20 years of war that culminated in the Taliban`s return to power.
Forced into a hasty and humiliating exit, Washington and its NATO allies carried out a massive but chaotic airlift over the past two weeks, but still left behind tens of thousands of Afghans who helped Western countries and might have qualified for evacuation. Celebratory gunfire rang out in Kabul after completion of the U.S. pullout that ended America`s longest war.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf said, “The last US soldier has left Kabul airport and our country gained complete independence,” Al Jazeera TV reported on Monday.
A contingent of Americans, estimated by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken as under 200 and possibly closer to 100, wanted to leave but were unable to get on the last flights.
President Joe Biden, in a statement, defended his decision to stick to a Tuesday deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces even though it meant not everyone who wanted out could get out.
Biden has drawn heavy criticism from Republicans and some of his fellow Democrats for his handling of Afghanistan since the Taliban took over Kabul earlier this month after a lightning advance.
The 20-year conflict took the lives of nearly 2,500 US troops and an estimated 240,000 Afghans and cost some USD 2 trillion.