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Animals rights group says US handed ‘death sentence’ to working dogs left behind by troops in Afghanistan

·2 min read
File: Dozens of contracted dogs working with the US military were left behind in Afghanistan amid the hasty pullout (AFP via Getty Images)
File: Dozens of contracted dogs working with the US military were left behind in Afghanistan amid the hasty pullout (AFP via Getty Images)

The United States, in its hasty withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, has allegedly abandoned dozens of contracted working dogs, according to an animal welfare group.

American Humane, a non-profit group headquartered in Washington, DC, said the US military contract dogs have been left behind to be “torture and killed at the hand of our enemies”.

“These brave dogs do the same dangerous, lifesaving work as our military working dogs, and deserve a far better fate than the one to which they have been condemned. It sickens us to sit idly by and watch these brave dogs who valiantly served our country be put to death or worse,” said the organisation’s president Robin R Ganzert in a statement on Monday night.

“In order to prevent this tragedy from occurring, these K-9’s should be loaded into whatever cargo space remains and flown to safety,” Mr Ganzert added.

The organisation has also called upon the Congress to take action to classify working dogs on the same level as military working dogs. “Failure to do anything less is a failure of humanity and a condemnation of us all,” the statement read. A working dog is a purpose-trained canine that performs tasks to assist humans. While military dogs are specifically trained for warfare, a contract working dog is usually owned by a private contractor to work alongside these canines and perform a wide range of duties.

As the last soldier departed on a Boeing C-17 Globemaster after Monday midnight, the US closed the chapter of its 20-year long war with the Taliban in Afghanistan. President Joe Biden on Monday evening said since 14 August, over 120,000 people, including Americans and citizens of allies have been evacuated from Afghanistan, the largest airlift in US history.

However, the last five military cargo that departed on Monday left behind at least 100 Americans and thousands of Afghan citizens waiting to flee the country in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

Chief of US Central Command Frank McKenzie said the final flights did not include some dozens of Americans who could not get to the airport.

“There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure. We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out. But I think if we’d stayed another 10 days, we wouldn’t have gotten everybody out,” Mr McKenzie said.

Meanwhile, a former British Royal Marine who campaigned to leave Afghanistan with almost 200 rescued dogs and cats, safely flew out of the county. A privately funded chartered plane carrying Paul “Pen” Farthing and his animals landed at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday, the Associated Press reported.

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