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Trust Index: US military did not leave American service dogs in Afghanistan

A photo has gone viral across the world, and the claim is that the picture shows American military working dogs left behind at the airport in Kabul as the United States pulled out of the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

A photo has gone viral across the world, and the claim is that the picture shows American military working dogs left behind at the airport in Kabul as the United States pulled out of the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

But the I-TEAM found that narrative doesn’t add up when we put it through the News4Jax Trust Index.

We first traced it back. The picture made it rounds with well-known media personalities with big social media footprints posted it with no citation and no sources. And people took that as fact.

This viral picture of dogs in crates in Kabul has people enraged. The claim: American troops left behind military...

Posted by WJXT4 Vic Micolucci on Tuesday, August 31, 2021

We checked with Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon, who sent a statement.

“The US military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, to include the reported ‘military working dogs.’ Photos circulating online were animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under the care of the U.S. military,” the statement reads in part. “U.S. forces went to great lengths to assist the Kabul Small Animal Rescue as much as possible.”

Then we looked at Kabul Small Animal Rescue.

It’s a legitimate and respected organization run by American Charlotte Maxwell-Jones, who posted a video on Instagram a week ago as her team -- pictured in the tweet above -- tried to get contractors’ dogs and pets from Afghan allies, American citizens and embassy workers on flights out of Afghanistan.

“We need a landing permit for our animals. We’ve stuck it out this far. We are not going to leave them. We need a landing permit,” Maxwell-Jones says in the video.

On Monday, she posted an update on Facebook:

“Charlotte here! I want to apologize for the quiet social media. We are busy making plans, checking them twice, sorting out details, and keeping things quiet to maintain our own and the animals’ security. We know it’s not the most satisfying feed to follow, but please know that behind the scenes we are busting our tails to do everything we can to save our furry friends, and we deeply appreciate everyone’s continued concern and support.”

Charlotte here! I want to apologize for the quiet social media. We are busy making plans, checking them twice, sorting...

Posted by Kabul Small Animal Rescue on Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Since then, her account has been silent. But the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) International Global Animal Rescue has released a letter, claiming 130 dogs were in limbo. The statement says:

  • The dogs were not allowed on military aircraft.
  • The organization tried to get them on private planes, but those aircraft weren’t allowed at the Taliban-controlled airport.
  • Volunteers released the animals to roam free on the grounds and left food for them.
  • And a number of groups are working tirelessly to get the animals and remaining caregivers out of the country.

So the photo is real, and the continuing crisis is real. But the spin that the U.S. military left American service dogs on the ground is not true.

Not True

After review, we've found this information is Not True.

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About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.