Organization that saves animals in Afghanistan trying to leave safely

Nowzad, a non-profit that reunites animals with U.S. military service members is now trying to get their staff and animals to safety

KABUL, Afghanistan – Nowzad, a non-profit organization based in Kabul, Afghanistan has reunited cats and dogs that once roamed the streets of Afghanistan with military service members who befriended the animals. As the Taliban gain more control in Afghanistan the clock is ticking for those who want to leave.

Nowzad is trying to figure out how to do just that, getting almost 200 cats and dogs they’ve rescued off the streets in Afghanistan to safety. Victoria native and active-duty service member Christopher Cazinha said the organization helped him get his dog, Hoodie, back home so he didn’t have to leave her back in Afghanistan while he was on tour there over ten years ago.

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Hoodie on a hike. Cazinha said if it weren’t for Nowzad he wouldn’t have been able to bring Hoodie back to the U.S.

“Organizations such as Nowzad and Kabul Small Animal Rescue have done so much for American servicemen and women. Just reuniting us with these animals, my life has been exponentially greater since I’ve had Hoodie home with me,” said Cazinha. Cazinha also said that while on tour in Afghanistan Hoodie would frequently hang out near the military base and mingle with the service members. He said one time a soldier was attacked by two Afghanistan men and Hoodie rushed to the scene to save the soldier, drawing blood on one of the attackers and potentially saving the life of a service member.

Nowzad was able to get a cargo plane through donations to get the almost 200 cats and dogs in their care to safety. And it’s not just the pets they’re saving, some of their staff are women who would be unable to work under Taliban rule, and they would be able to leave as well. The organization is also bringing around 150 Afghanistan refugees to safety too.

“This is a mission that transcends politics, transcends religions, it transcends everything. It’s just about human beings trying to do the best they can in a terrible situation,” said Cazinha.

Hoodie while in Afghanistan, one of her favorite treats was beef jerky

Nowzad is so close to Cazinha’s heart because he knows how hard it can be to leave behind those furry friends, not knowing what ends up happening to those left behind.

“These dogs have done so much for soldiers, a lot of them 90% of them had to be left behind, left to fate, I don’t even want to think about,” said Cazinha.

However, for the almost 1,600 hundred animals that have been reunited with servicemembers, it means all the world to those animals and their families. Another organization, Kabul Small Animal Rescue is attempting to do the same but still needs donations to get out of the country.

Nowzad is good to go but they still need safe passage from their compound to the airport, so the journey for Nowzad and their animals and staff is still a daunting task.

To learn more about Nowzad or donate you can visit their website here and their Facebook page here.

To learn more about the other organization, Kabul Small Animal Rescue, you can visit their Facebook page here and they are also accepting donations to leave Afghanistan.