The Pentagon has confirmed that no military working dogs were left in Afghanistan following the full withdrawal of American troops on August 31.
The Pentagon put rumours to rest after a photo went viral of caged dogs in an aircraft hanger at Hamid Karzai International Airport, leading people to speculate that the military had left their working canines behind.
Many people flocked to Twitter to share the image of dogs in cages, suggesting the animals were abandoned by the US, with former POTUS Donald Trump‘s son Donald Trump Jr. among those who spoke out over the claims.
While people were the major focus of the evacuation mission, Eric Pahon, a Defense Department spokesperson, stated in an email to the Military Times that the ‘government made it a priority to ensure its working dogs returned home.’
He continued: ‘We invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into these dogs. We wouldn’t leave them behind.’
Despite people assuming otherwise, the viral photos of dogs trapped in cages at the airport are not of military working dogs. In a tweet, John Kirby, assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, assured dog-lovers no dogs were left behind.
The dogs in the photos were actually animals in the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, a veterinary clinic and non-profit organisation that has been helping animals in Afghanistan for over a year.
The Department of Defense informed USA Today it did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, particularly military working dogs, and that it went to ‘great lengths’ to support Kabul Small Animal Rescue.
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