US troops leave behind contract working dogs who helped army in Kabul, veterans call for funds to evacuate them

On August 30, 2021, the last US troops left Kabul, ending 20 years of war in Afghanistan, leaving behind a devastated nation at the hands of the radical Islamist group. Amid stories of disappointment and bereavement, another sad picture emerged when it was reported that while leaving the country, US troops also left behind 51 contract working dogs.

Now NGOs and veterans are trying to save Afghanistan’s dogs.

An organization named Kabul Small Animal Rescue (RASK) launched a last-minute rescue operation dubbed Operation Hercules to rescue stranded dogs in Kabul, including contract working dogs.

Veteran and author Tommy Amenta released a video statement Aug. 30 outlining the situation. He said the last hours of the rescue operation were chaotic and he was unsure whether the chartered plane they had arranged for the dogs could land or not. He further added that Joshua T. Hosler, president of Veteran Sheepdogs of America, offered to take the military dogs on the plane which was already on the ground.

Quoting his tweet, Joshua urged leading businessmen to provide funds for rescue operations. He wrote: “WE NEED A MIRACLE! We need @elonmusk @BillGates @JeffBezos to pay for a plane for 51 military dogs remaining in Kabul. DO NOT take seats from humans. It will also save the lives of Americans and interpreters! We are working on funding for afterwards as well. Please RETWEETER and tag anyone who has the $. According to some reports, these rescue operations are costly.

In a tweet, Veteran Sheepdogs of America mentioned that the rescue operation cost them at least $1.67 million. He said: “It costs $1.67 million for a 737 plane from Kabul. We are working with our contacts for donations. We have the majority of funds to fly at least 140 and 51 military working dogs! Everything will help! The dogs have to leave tonight.

American Humane condemned the US government for leaving the dogs behind

American Humane, a 150-year-old national humanitarian organization, has condemned the US government for leaving behind 51 contract working dogs in Afghanistan. In a statement, Dr. Robin R. Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, said he was devastated to learn that the US government had left behind working dogs under military contract. American “to be tortured and killed by our enemies”.

The statement read, “These brave dogs do the same dangerous and life-saving work as our military working dogs, and deserved a far better fate than they were condemned to.” He further read that American Humane is ready to help bring K9 contract soldiers back to the United States and provide them with lifelong medical care.

The organization has worked with the US military for over 100 years to save military animals. Ganzert said in the statement: “In fact, our famous rescue program began on the bloody battlefields of World War I in Europe, at the request of the United States Secretary of War. Since then, American Humane has pioneered the development of pet therapy for returning veterans, and today brings home retired military working dogs and pairs veterans with service dogs that save lives.

The organization has urged the government to classify contract working dogs at the same level as military service 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 United States. The first are the Military Working Dogs or MWDs that belong to the US military. These dogs are trained by military professionals for different jobs, such as supporting rescue missions and identifying explosives, etc. Due to the increased demand for such dogs in the military, contractors began to supply privately trained dogs for military operations. These dogs are known as contract working dogs or CWDs.

According to a Military & LEO Working Dogs Facebook post, contractors who provide CWD are usually veterans who started working as contractors after being discharged.

India brings back 3 ITBP dogs that worked to secure Kabul embassy

Earlier this month, when India evacuated its staff and security personnel from Kabul, 3 ITBP dogs deployed for Kabul embassy security were brought back in the C-17 of the IAF.

Ruby. Maya and Bobby, the three ITBP dogs were brought back with the ITBP commandos from Kabul on August 18th.

Bette C. Alvarado