On August 30, 2021, the last of the American troops left Kabul, ending the 20-years-long Afghanistan war leaving behind a devastated nation back in the hands of the radical Islamist group. Amid the stories of disappointments and bereavement, another sad picture emerged when it was reported that while leaving the country, US troops also left 51 contract working dogs behind.
Now NGOs and veterans are trying to rescue the dogs from Afghanistan.
An organization named Kabul Small Animal Rescue (KSAR) launched a last-minute rescue operation codenamed Operation Hercules to save the stranded dogs on Kabul that included the contract working dogs.
We are still fighting ever-changing things. Its the 11th hour. We have so much $ awaiting refunds in canceled flights. We will sort out ALL the fundraising when this is over. We are fighting on and moving the WDs out and praying our final charter flight arrives. https://t.co/UKb4fEYXE7— Kabul Small Animal Rescue (@KSAnimalRescue) August 30, 2021
Tommy Amenta, veteran and author, issued a video statement on August 30 describing the situation. He said that the last few hours in the rescue operation were chaos, and he was not sure if the chartered plane they had arranged for the dogs would be able to land or not. He further added that Joshua T. Hosler, President of Veteran Sheepdogs of America, has offered to take the military dogs in the plane that was already on the ground.
#OperationHercules we had some bumps in the “fog of war” as #American Force pull out, WE ARE STILL WORKING!— Tommy Amenta (@TommyAmenta) August 30, 2021
But @VetSheepdogsUS has gone above & beyond- GRACIOUSLY giving us FREE space for all our MWDs on his ✈️ #hero @KSAnimalRescue @SPCAINT https://t.co/KZq0etUnNY https://t.co/Vo0tIqzBvy pic.twitter.com/hSZHUAcmRV
Quoting his tweet, Joshua urged the top businessmen to provide funds for the rescue operations. He wrote, “WE NEED A MIRACLE! We need @elonmusk @BillGates @JeffBezos to pay for a plane for 51 military dogs left in Kabul. NOT taking seats from humans. This will also save Americans & interpreters lives! We are working on funding for after also. Please RETWEET & tag anyone who has the $.” Reportedly, such rescue operations are expensive.
WE NEED A MIRACLE! We need @elonmusk @BillGates @JeffBezos to pay for a plane for 51 military dogs left in Kabul. NOT taking seats from humans. This will also save Americans & interpreters lives! We are working on funding for after aslo. Please RETWEET & tag anyone who has the $ https://t.co/fuYuHPaPJR— Joshua T. Hosler for American Veterans 🇺🇸 (@JoshuaHosler) August 30, 2021
In a tweet, Veteran Sheepdogs of America had mentioned that the rescue operation is costing them at least $1.67 million. It said, “It costs $1.67 million for a 737 plane out of Kabul. We are working with our contacts for donations. We have the majority of the funds to fly out at least 140 and 51 military working dogs! Anything will help! Dogs need to leave tonight.”
It costs $1.67 million for 737 plane out of Kabul. We need are working our contacts for donations. We have the majority of the funds to fly out at least 140 and 51 military working dogs!— Veteran Sheepdogs of America (@VetSheepdogsUS) August 29, 2021
Anything will help! Dogs need to leave tonight. https://t.co/3vaYMaMAyd pic.twitter.com/hcT5hhTkz3
American Humane condemned the US government for leaving the dogs behind
American Humane, a 150-years old national humanitarian organization, has condemned the US government for leaving 51 contract working dogs behind in Afghanistan. In a statement, Dr Robin R. Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, stated that he was devastated to learn that the American government left behind US military contract working dogs “to be tortured and killed at the hand of our enemies.”
The statement read, “These brave dogs do the same dangerous, life-saving work as our military working dogs, and deserved a far better fate than the one to which they have been condemned.” It further read that American Humane is ready to help transport the contract K9 soldiers back to the US and provide them lifetime medical care.
The organization has worked with the US military for over 100 years to rescue military animals. Ganzert said in the statement, “In fact, our famed rescue program began on the bloody battlefields of WWI Europe, at the request of the US Secretary of War. Since that time, American Humane served as a pioneer in the development of animal therapy for returning veterans, and today brings home retired military working dogs and pairs veterans with life-saving service dogs.”
The organization urged the government to classify contract working dogs on the same level as military serving dogs to avoid such incidents in the future.
What are Contract Working Dogs?
There are two types of dogs used by the military in the US. First are the Military Working Dogs or MWD that are owned by the US Military. These dogs are trained by military professionals for different jobs such as providing support in rescue missions and identifying explosives etc. Due to the increased demand for such dogs in the military, contractors started to provide privately owned trained dogs for military operations. These dogs are known as Contract Working Dogs or CWD.
According to a post by Military & LEO Working Dogs on Facebook, contractors that provide CWD are generally veterans who started to work as contractors after getting discharged from the military service.
India brings back 3 dogs of ITBP that worked to secure Kabul embassy
Earlier this month, when India evacuated its staff and security personnel from Kabul, 3 dogs from the ITBP that were deployed for the security of the Kabul embassy were brought back in the IAF C-17.
Ruby. Maya and Bobby, the three ITBP dogs were brought back along with the ITBP commandoes from Kabul on August 18.