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Animal rescue from Kabul sparks controversy

CM 30/08/2021 1

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In the last days of the Western twenty-year war in Afghanistan, a small controversy erupted. It turned out that some western charities and westerners had been involved in supporting animals in Afghanistan. They had tried to replicate the animal rescue and animal support systems that are more common in the United States or UK, where pets, rescue dogs and other types of animals are highly prized. Surveys show that in some western countries animals are considered equal to, or even more important than people. 
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace was quoted as saying that “as for the animals…it is just not going to be the case that I will prioritize them over the men, women and children we see in desperate need at the gate.” While activists, celebrities and others in the UK desperately tweeted and sent angry messages to people regarding the need to rescue animals, others were wondering why the animals were getting more attention than tens of thousands of people, or even the local Afghans who had worked with the animals.  
Without getting into too many details, since charities and groups in the UK tend to be litigious and have been known to sue journalists and newspapers that mention them, the overall question raised in the last days of the Kabul evacuation was about the policies that underpinned the focus on several white westerners who were involved in caring for animals, and the lack of attention for thousands of Afghans who had been working with westerners for years.  

According to reports, charter planes were arranged to get the animals out for several groups that were involved. According to messages reviewed that were sent to journalists, the writers demanded that the US State Department needed to help with “overflight” notices or what some called a “dip” notice. There was no explanation given on social media for what these notices were, and it appeared a social media coordinated campaign had been put into place to push these narratives. Reports indicate that in at least one case a charter flight was cleared to bring out dogs and cats.  
According to supporters, the animal rescue was done with private donations and animals fly in the hold or cargo section of an aircraft, so they are not displacing humans. That is a debatable question because resources have to go to bring the animals to the airport, while leaving behind the local staff, and runway space goes to the aircraft. In addition, it raises questions about why westerners were paying money to bring out animals in private or chartered aircraft, while people were left behind.  
 Crowds of people wait outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 25, 2021 in this picture obtained from social media. (credit: TWITTER/DAVID_MARTINON VIA REUTERS/PHOTO FILE) Crowds of people wait outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 25, 2021 in this picture obtained from social media. (credit: TWITTER/DAVID_MARTINON VIA REUTERS/PHOTO FILE)
The fact that western countries have different priorities than the countries they may be invading, bombing or fighting in, is not a surprise. Germany shipped out 22,000 liters of beer from Afghanistan. Once again, critics might say that the beer doesn’t displace people. But beer does displace priceless family heirlooms of Afghan families who might prefer to bring out some items for their families, rather than the easily replaceable German beer.
This appears to go to the heart of a larger question about the western, mostly NATO, role in Afghanistan over two decades. While the US went into Afghanistan to kill or capture Osama Bin Laden, the conflict became a mission creep that led to pushing for democracy and women’s rights, and trillions of dollars apparently wasted or squandered, or stolen. There are now questions in the US Congress about where that money went.
There are other questions about what it means for a country to go into another country with its military, fight there for twenty years, hire local staff, and then evacuate animals and beer and other things, but leave behind locals who trusted and relied upon the foreigners. Generations of Afghans were raised working with the US and UK. But no matter the time they may have devoted or risks they took, it appears many of them were of less interest at the end to some western activists than some random dogs and cats in Afghanistan. It’s not even clear if the Afghan refugees are being treated as well as the dogs and cats. That raises questions about whether western countries should be invading places like Afghanistan, giving false hopes, and then putting a few animals in the hold of an airplane and flying off back home.  
Those following the evacuation wondered how charter planes could even get in to evacuate animals once the military had stopped letting in charters. They also wondered about the underlying questions of racism that appear to underpin those who advocated evacuating westerners and animals but didn’t seem to put the same amount of effort into evacuating people.  


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The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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