Charlotte Maxwell-Jones head of Kabul Small Animal Rescue Still in Afghanistan. Around the world, people have been anxiously watching the situation in Afghanistan unfold and change rapidly.
One of the American’s left behind who has had much attention during this crisis is Charlotte Maxwell-Jones, an American, who founded Kabul Small Animal Rescue in Afghanistan. Despite recommendations from the US government and threats from the Taliban, Maxwell-Jones refused to leave Afghanistan without the 40 people on her rescue staff and their 250 animals. The evacuation mission, called “Operation Hercules,” received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.
The Evacuation Attempt
On August 23, Maxwell-Jones posted a video update on the rescue’s Facebook page explaining how armed Taliban guards came to her house and stayed on her lawn. She explained that they promised to give her and her staff safe passage as long as she left first; however, she didn’t believe that they would actually follow through with letting her staff leave.
According to the rescue’s update from Sunday, August 29th, an airplane and landing permissions were secured and plans were in place to evacuate everyone to the US. The update emphasized that this would be their last chance to leave. Sadly, things did not go exactly as planned, partially due to the CDC’s policy of not allowing dogs from certain countries, including Afghanistan, where there is a higher risk of rabies. The SPCA applied for an emergency exemption to this rule, but it did not work.
Getting the Facts Straight
A significant amount of misinformation has circulated online about this operation as well as the evacuation of animals from the region in general. SPCA International has been providing updates to clear up confusion. Their most recent update stated, “the dogs and their caretakers were explicitly NOT allowed to board military aircraft, and numerous private charter aircraft were not granted access to the airport either.” Furthermore, as of the August 30th update, the KSAR staff and cats were not allowed to enter the airport, and Maxwell-Jones was escorted by the Taliban back to the shelter with one puppy on August 30.
Sadly, Maxwell-Jones was told that an unconfirmed number of dogs that had been under her care, was released and thus, became strays. Before leaving, Maxwell-Jones asked the military to open the bags of dog food that she brought and leave them out around the airport.
UPDATE GOOD NEWS
We have been working around the clock in our mission to rescue the dogs before the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. While that did not happen because of the CDC ban on rescuing animals from over 100 countries globally.
We will continue to support KSAR and work towards evacuating Maxwell-Jones, her staff, and the animals.
And, we will continue to do everything we can to overturn the CDC and government animal travel ban to help rescue teams and animals in other countries find foster homes in America.
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