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Dozens of security dogs await evacuation to complete US pullout from Afghanistan

A picture posted by Veteran Sheepdogs of America shows dogs locked in cages at the Kabul airport (Image courtesy: Twitter/@VetSheepdogsUS)

Almost 24 hours after Major General Chris Donahue boarded the final flight out of the Kabul airport, 51 contracted military working dogs left behind by the US military are also expected to be put on a plane tonight, in the early hours of Wednesday.  

Plans to evacuate the dogs specially trained for combat missions had fallen through just before the last C-17 military transport carrying Americans took off from the Hamid Karzai International Airport Tuesday.

"51 contracted military working dogs are safe & being cared for in their crates. We had all funds for the plane, but an animal rescue org fell through. So we are scrambling to cover their amount of $500,000 of the $1.67 million," tweeted Veteran Sheepdogs of America, a nonprofit organisation which has been working hard to fly the dogs out of Kabul.  

Its president, Joshua Hosler – a combat Marine veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan with over 700 combat missions as Assistant Platoon Leader and a bomb dog handler – had even urged celebrity investors like Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and world's richest person and Amazon and Blue Origin founder, Jeff Bezos to help in the funding required for the mission.

"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 $," Hosler tweeted Tuesday.

With pictures of dogs locked in cages in front of a damaged chopper, apparently at the Kabul airport, taking the internet by storm, things finally seem to be moving in the right direction for the organisation. It said Monday morning that the US State Department has "heard the cries" and is assisting.

"The Turkish have taken over the airfield and things are actually smoother than the last 2 days to get info and PPR papers to Ramstein," it said earlier today.

India Narrative had reported earlier this month about some decorated combat canines and their handlers being evacuated immediately after the US forces took control of the Kabul airport.

Videos of the dogs entering the airport and pictures of them boarding the plane along with officials and sitting on seats specially reserved for them had also gone viral on social media.

Many of these Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds and German Shorthaired Pointers had received medals for finding weapons, explosives, ammunition and also narcotics in the trouble-torn region.

Also Read: Sitting on reserved seats, US military dogs return home as chaos reigns at Kabul airport

Once taken out of Kabul, these dogs will undergo a 30-day quarantine period at Ramstein Air Base in Germany and then put on a flight to the US before being donated to police departments in need.

On Sunday, Paul 'Pen' Farthing, a former Royal Marine commando who has served in Helmand, arrived in London on a private plane carrying around 150 dogs, cats and other animals from Nowzad – his animal welfare NGO in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Kabul
However, Farthing's 'Operation Ark' campaign has also drawn a lot of criticism, including from Kent MP Tom Tugendhat who is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and also an ex-soldier who has served in Afghanistan.

"The difficulty is getting people into and out of the airport and we've just used a lot of troops to bring in 200 dogs. Meanwhile, my interpreter's family are likely to be killed. As one interpreter asked me a few days ago, 'why is my five year old worth less than your dog?", Tugendhat said on British radio station Leading Britain's Conversation (LBC).  

Also Read: How a six-barrel gun helped US forces to exit Kabul safely