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Abandoned dogs get new handlers after US pullout from Afghanistan


Dozens of dogs left behind in Afghanistan amid the chaotic withdrawal last month, including some who were trained to sniff out bombs, have been given new handlers — and will be put back to work at Kabul airport.

Hewad Azizi, who works for a company handling security at the airport, told Agence France-Presse that he looked for abandoned dogs as soon as the last American soldier left.

“When I saw (the soldiers leaving), I went to save the dogs,” he told AFP at a makeshift training center at the airport, which faces hangars once used for US aircraft and military equipment.

Azizi said he found 30 dogs, half of them in the area that was controlled by the Americans, and others were discovered in zones that belonged to former Afghan police.

The dogs are now being fed, cared for and trained by Azizi and his colleagues at the security company’s training center.

The company operates under the umbrella of GAAC, a UAE-based company that has provided ground and security handling services at Kabul airport since November 2020, according to AFP.

Dogs in travel crates.
American Humane initially accused the US military of leaving its contract dogs behind, though a military spokesman later disputed the allegation.
Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

Azizi said he is not sure about the identity of the previous owners — and is instead just focused on getting the canines back to work when the airport returns to normal.

“We have done training with them to find out what they are used for exactly,” he told AFP, adding that they have realized “they are bomb dogs.”

Mohammad Mourid, a supervisor at the center, added: “We train them to see how we can use them. We feed them, give them water, and clean them.”

Handlers training dogs.
Hewad Azizi, who works for a company handling security at the Kabul airport, said he looked for abandoned dogs as soon as the last American soldier left.
Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

When photos of the dogs in cages at Kabul airport initially surfaced last month, American Humane accused the US military of leaving its contract dogs behind, though a military spokesman later disputed the allegation, telling The Post that no “military working dogs” had been abandoned.

“Photos circulating online were animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under the care of the U.S. military,” US Army Lt. Col. Karen Roxberry, a spokesperson for US Central Command, told The Post.

Handlers training dogs.
The dogs are now being fed, cared for and trained by Hewad Azizi and his colleagues at the security company’s training center.
Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

The Pentagon also denied that the US military abandoned some of its dogs at the airport.

“To correct erroneous reports, the US military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, including the reported military working dogs,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a tweet.



Read More:Abandoned dogs get new handlers after US pullout from Afghanistan

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