The U.S. Army just provided an update on more than 100 dogs that were allegedly left behind in Afghanistan when President Joe Biden completed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.
According to Breitbart, a spokesperson for the Army told the activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Thursday that “more than 150 stray Afghan dogs” were left behind in the country thanks to regulations that prohibited transporting the animals on military evacuation flights.
Still, the spokesperson said U.S. troops “did not leave any dogs in cages” at the airport in Kabul.
Concerns about dogs being stranded in the nation that is now under Taliban control heightened as the U.S. worked to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan late last month.
As Breitbart noted, photos shared online showed “empty animal cages” surrounded by “scattered” food and water bowls.
The chaotic scene suggested that Biden and his administration had stranded the dogs in Afghanistan. But the Army insists it wasn’t planned that way.
The “plane did not arrive”
“These dogs were not permitted on military evacuation flights due to regulations, but the Kabul Small Animal Rescue claimed to have arranged a chartered plane to rescue the animals,” a spokesperson for the Army told PETA in a statement, according to Breitbart. “Unfortunately, that plane did not arrive, leaving no options to evacuate the dogs.”
The spokesperson said that the U.S. military was left with only one “reasonable and humane course of action,” which was to relocate the dogs to a “former Afghan National Army compound on the airport grounds with appropriate supplies of food and water,” Breitbart reported.
“Working tirelessly through the night of August 29 and into the morning of August 30, dedicated U.S. Soldiers transported more than 150 dogs in crates down the airfield to the compound — no easy task under the best of circumstances, but particularly challenging during the hazardous final stages of our withdrawal,” the spokesperson said.
“Forever homes” elsewhere
The Army spokesperson reportedly went on to say that the head of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue plans “to return to the airport in the coming days to gather the dogs and get them on a charter plane to forever homes outside of Afghanistan.”
According to Breitbart, PETA said the rescue “remains committed to the welfare and safety of the many dogs in its charge and is continuing to work on the situation.” But only time will tell what happens next to the animals that sparked nationwide concern.
A separate report from Breitbart alleged that a Taliban leader had “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.”