Animal rights group says US sentenced working dogs left behind by troops in Afghanistan to death

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

American Humane, a non-profit group headquartered in Washington, DC, said dogs under contract with the US military were left to be “tortured and killed by our enemies”.

“These brave dogs do the same dangerous and lifesaving work as our military working dogs and deserve a far better fate than they were condemned to. It makes us sick to stand idly by and see these brave dogs who valiantly served our country be put to death or worse,” the organization’s president, Robin R Ganzert, said in a statement late Monday.

“In order to prevent this tragedy from happening, these K-9s must be loaded into the remaining cargo space and transported to a safe place,” Ganzert added.

The organization also called on Congress to take action to classify working dogs at the same level as military working dogs. “Doing nothing less is a failure of humanity and a condemnation of us all,” the statement read. A working dog is a purpose-trained dog that performs tasks to help humans. While military dogs are specifically trained for warfare, a contract working dog is usually owned by a private contractor to work alongside these dogs and perform a wide range of tasks.

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

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

US Central Command chief Frank McKenzie said the latest flights did not include the few dozen Americans who were unable to make it to the airport.

“There is a lot of grief associated with this departure. We didn’t get everyone out that we wanted to get out. But I think if we had stayed 10 more days we wouldn’t have gotten everyone out,” Mr McKenzie said.

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

Bette C. Alvarado