Outrage after US Military leaves 46 dogs, 30 million Afghans, behind
Sarah McLachlan will have something to sing about this.
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — Americans have described themselves as 'outraged' and 'devastated' after pictures emerged of U.S. forces leaving 46 working dogs, along with 30 million Afghans, behind in Afghanistan following Monday's pull-out.
A series of social media posts taken in late August allegedly showed photos of the dogs abandoned at the Kabul airport, along with millions of Afghan civilians.
While the Pentagon has claimed the animals were rescue dogs belonging to the group Kabul Small Animal Rescue, the incident is just the latest blow in the 20-year conflict which has left untold numbers of dogs, other cute animals, and Afghans dead.
Kabul Rescue founder Charlotte Maxwell-Jones described the feeling of helplessness over the past few weeks, watching hundreds of Afghans fleeing to the airport in terror with no thought about who would care for the pets they abandoned.
Maxwell-Jones added that the only relief she had experienced was watching a crowd of Afghan refugees and their families cheering as the first planeload of rescued dogs took off from Kabul airport. “Some Afghans were so overcome with emotion they were literally clinging to the side of the plane.”
In response, the animal rights group American Humane has demanded that the U.S. government give working dogs the same levels of protection of military working dogs or Afghans who risked their lives to help the U.S. military.
"The American government is pulling out of #Kabul and leaving behind brave U.S. military contract working dogs and Afghans to be tortured and killed at the hand of our enemies," the organization said in a statement on Twitter.
“We all remember the TV footage from Vietnam of dogs being abandoned on the helicopter pads at the U.S. embassy, or pushed over the sides of U.S. aircraft carriers to make room for more dogs,” added American Humane.
The group had previously called on the Pentagon to evacuate the dogs on any available aircraft space not needed for Afghan civilians or the meager possessions they could carry.
After multiple inquiries by Duffel Blog to the Taliban, the group’s spokesman responded by repeatedly asking, “Is this a joke?” and “No really, is this a joke?”
Americans at home have responded with a #NoPawsLeftBehind campaign on Twitter, encouraging people to post pictures of their dogs or the Afghan refugees living in their basements holding a dog, in solidarity with all those left behind.
In response to increasing public concern, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has issued a statement which read:
“I am deeply saddened that, in the course of this historic evacuation mission, we left behind 46 heroic canines, our loyal allies who served by our side, chewed on our shoes, and fought for our shared values.”
“This is a terrible day for dogs everywhere in Afghanistan, and the Afghans who live next to them."