A Taliban commander told Russian state media on Wednesday that the new rulers of Afghanistan have plans for using the service dogs abandoned by President Joe Biden during his chaotic withdrawal from Kabul.
Murad Gazdiev, a correspondent for Russia’s RT.com, said he found most of the dog cages at the Kabul airport open and empty, with only a single “very scared and evidently traumatized” stray dog in evidence.
The chief Taliban officer at the Kabul airport claimed departing American soldiers let the dogs out of their cages, and the Taliban’s “Islamic Emirate” plans to catch them and make use of them:
The Taliban’a commander of Kabul airport tells us US troops let their service dogs free as they evacuated.
The dogs are being rounded up, and the Taliban plans to, in an ironic twist, put them back into service for the Islamic Emirate.
(No, they weren’t sentenced to death) pic.twitter.com/0tmGqwB9lp
— Murad Gazdiev (@MuradGazdiev) September 1, 2021
Here is what the Taliban commander told us about the dogs on camera. Off camera: that they would put them to use, and that they would train those they could pic.twitter.com/Vzp0Or1kUK
— Murad Gazdiev (@MuradGazdiev) September 1, 2021
Gazdiev advised those who wished to help save the dogs to email two senior Taliban jihadists with offers of assistance.
The Drive, an automotive and defense reporting site, noted the service dogs could be “valuable to the Taliban,” as they cost from $50,000 to $150,000 to train, especially for highly trained animals like bomb-sniffing dogs. Kabul Small Animal Rescue (KSAR), the American-led group that has been trying to get abandoned working dogs and animal companions out of Afghanistan, said in a Tuesday Facebook post that its efforts continue despite the perilous security situation.
“We are busy making plans, checking them twice, sorting out details, and keeping things quiet to maintain our own and the animals’ security,” wrote founder Charlotte Maxwell-Jones. “We know it’s not the most satisfying feed to follow, but please know that behind the scenes we are busting our tails to do everything we can to save our furry friends, and we deeply appreciate everyone’s continued concern and support.”
— Kabul Small Animal Rescue (@KSAnimalRescue) August 29, 2021
The International Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which has been working with Kabul Small Animal Rescue, said it remains in contact with Maxwell-Jones and is coordinating with other animal welfare groups, including War Paws, Marley’s Mutts, Animal Wellness Action, and Puppy Rescue Mission, to “evacuate her and the military working dogs and pets” under KSAR’s care.
“Charlotte was informed that most of the KSAR dogs had to be released into the airport on August 30 as the airport was evacuated – turning once rescued shelter dogs into homeless strays,” the SPCA said. “They were not given access to the flight we had secured to transport them out of the country. They are within the airport in an area used for housing employees at the far end of the flight line. “We haven’t been able to confirm the number of dogs released, nor can we confirm whether the U.S. Military evacuated the 46 working dogs that had been under KSAR’s care when they left,” the SPCA said.
The events of the past 2 weeks have been intense. We are all grateful for those that assisted in facilitating this…
“The situation at the airport remains very unsafe, but KSAR is hopeful their staff will be allowed to return to the airport at some point to try to save their dogs,” the SPCA relayed. “During her departure from the airport on August 30, Charlotte requested the U.S. Military open the bags of dog food she was able to bring into the airport and scatter their contents in the area where the dogs had been released.”
This would explain the open bags of food spotted by RT.com correspondent Murad Gazdiev.
The Pentagon continues to insist none of the abandoned dogs were U.S. military property, but belonged to contractors or American personnel stationed in Afghanistan, who allegedly adopted them as companions.
Wisconsin animal sanctuary Home for Life announced the arrival of seven dogs from Kabul on Wednesday.
Kara was rescued by an American contractor who observed this sweet timid girl trying to care for her 7 puppies on a pile…
“We’ve all seen the news, what’s going on over there, and it’s very unfortunate, but it’s also fortunate that we can take in some of these pups and give them a chance,” said Brit Shoberg of Home for Life.
“They’re adapting well, some were a little timid, just getting them used to being around people and being on a leash just things like that,” Shoberg said.
Another group, No Dog Left Behind, reported saving a stray dog named Bluebell from Afghanistan after amputating one of her legs. The dog is currently in a foster home and awaiting adoption.
“For somebody that is heartbroken about what’s going on over there and knowing how privileged we are here, knowing what’s going on there, is just eye-opening. I wish we as a nation could talk about it more and pitch in more, and realize that there are people, dogs and cats and other animals that are still there with no voice,” said No Dog Left Behind vetting coordinator Chariss Nearmeyer.