NEWS AND VIEWS: I have discovered that the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan was the home for 25-30 cats. I use the past tense because all embassy staff have reportedly abandoned the station. CNN reports that the embassy is empty except for, I suspect, the 25-30 cats who depended upon the staff for sustenance. They will be bemused waiting for food. And they will gradually disperse unless the food source remains. They might be abused. Is there a single person left in the embassy?
The Facebook page of the US Embassy Kabul informs me that the Afghans and Americans who worked there took good care of the cats. There is an interesting overlap with Nowzad, the animal rescue charity currently in the news. A veterinarian from Nowzad visited the US Embassy on July 2 to check on the cats and give them rabies vaccinations (see photo below).
All the cats at the embassy have names and they were “an important part of our community”. They were working cats because they kept down the rodent population. The cats helped to make life feel more normal for the staff.
On The Atlantic website there is an amusing article about the cats saying that one or two embassy staffers had been bitten or scratched. The cats are described as somewhat feral or stray. I think they could be better described as community cats or semi-domestic cats.
It doesn’t matter really what you call them because there is now no one there to provide food for them. This is just a small example of how the mass evacuation from Kabul, which is almost completed, impacts upon animal welfare in this desperate country.
Of course, the country has lost Nowzad which is probably the best-known animal rescue operation in the country unless the staffers who are left behind have decided to continue to run the operation. We might receive a report about that in the not-too-distant future.
Animal rescue and welfare in Afghanistan after evacuation
On July 23, 2021, The New Arab website reported that crucial welfare projects are under threat in Afghanistan because of the withdrawal of American and coalition military personnel from the country. There appears to have been quite a large animal rescue/veterinary presence in the country because of the presence of military personnel.
For example, Kabul Small Animal Rescue worked in partnership with the US charity Puppy Rescue Mission (PRM) which was working with the military and contractors who had adopted dogs on their bases. Nowzad was doing the same thing. PRM were reportedly providing a wide range of services including veterinary services, spaying and neutering and rabies vaccinations including rehoming animals overseas.
PRM I’m not based in Afghanistan but they work with organisations in Afghanistan to bring dogs back to the USA. Over the years they have brought back over 3,500 animals. Soldiers make friends with dogs and they become support animals and this kind a rescue operation reunites them once the service personnel come home. It’s exactly how Nowzad operated but Nowzad were based in Afghanistan.
But the big question now is what’s going happen to PRM. PRM would have been a great fundraiser and that money would have been fed into animal rescue in Afghanistan as I understand it. The point once again is that the removal from Afghanistan of all Americans and other foreigners not only impacts in a hugely negative way the women of the country but also the animals.
And it’s interesting that both women and animals are vulnerable in this misogynistic country. And I’ve used that word carefully but the Taliban are misogynistic. Their history of abusing women and girls indicates a strongly misogynistic attitude. And Taliban’s attitude towards dogs is going to be very poor as well because Muslims believe that dogs are unclean. And they believe that women should be in the home as captive creatures never to emerge and never to play a normal integrated role in society.
SOME MORE ON DOGS: