Images shared on social media appear to show US military dogs being given seats on the planes used to evacuate people from Afghanistan.
Thousands of Afghan residents have fled to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in recent days following the takeover of the Taliban, with chilling images showing desperate people flooding the runways and running after departing planes.
As many as 640 people squeezed themselves onto a cargo jet designed to carry just 150 amid the scramble to escape Taliban rule, but images shared online appear to show precious plane seats being reserved solely for military dogs leaving the country with handlers.
One image that has been widely shared shows a dog’s head and ears visible in a plane seat, while other scenes show the animals waiting to board flights and US evacuees entering the airport grounds with the dogs.
Though some owners and handlers may consider it unthinkable to depart the country without their dogs, the images have been met with backlash from critics arguing the animals should not be given plane seats while Afghan residents are risking their lives to try and get space on the transport.
At least ten people are said to have died amid the chaos at Kabul airport, some of who fell to their deaths after attempting to cling to planes during takeoff.
In response to reports of dogs being given seats, one Twitter user wrote: ‘The US military has managed to evacuate their Service dogs in Afghanistan. They all got seats in the plane, but innocent Afghanis hang onto the tyres of the same plane and fell thousands of feet to their deaths. Let that sink in!’
Another person commented: ‘the people you abandoned today usa, The plane was carrying dogs while afghans who were american facilitators, assistants and even those who spied 4 u against their country men were running down the olane. utter inhuman. [sic].’
However, some Twitter users have argued there is no reason for the service animals to be left behind, with one person questioning: ‘Are they not part of our military? Did they not serve to protect the Afghan people?’
Leaders across the globe have expressed commitments to assist in the evacuation efforts, with Germany sending military planes to Kabul, the UK announcing a scheme to welcome refugees and the US sending thousands of soldiers to the country to help remove thousands of US and Afghan civilians.
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