Special Forces Dog wins 'animal Victoria Cross'.


Oct 23, 2008
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Special Forces Dog wins 'animal Victoria Cross' for Taliban raid heroics.

Ben Farmer, Defence Correspondent
17 November 2017 • 12:01am

A special forces dog who sniffed out Taliban booby traps as elite British troops fought to clear militants from a Kabul tower block has been awarded the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

The Belgian Malinois known as Mali was badly injured by shrapnel, but credited with saving British and Afghan lives as he took part in the Special Boat Service (SBS) assault.

The mission saw SBS operators fight at close quarters to kill a heavily armed suicide squad holed up in a half-built block on the edge of the city’s diplomatic district.

The mission to end the siege is thought to have been one of the most heavily decorated actions in Britain’s Afghan campaign, with several gallantry awards given to human participants.

Eight-year-old Mali has now been awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for his role, joining only 68 other animals ever to receive the decoration.

Jan McLoughlin, director general of the veterinary charity, said: “Despite sustaining quite horrendous injuries, he absolutely stayed by his handler’s side and forged forward with them to help them carry out their duty. It’s that gallantry and devotion to duty that we are recognising.”03:33

SBS operators and their Afghan counterparts spent hours fighting to clear the block after it was stormed in April 2012.

The militants seized the multi-storey building site as part of coordinated assaults across the country to herald the start of the Taliban’s summer offensive.

As they fortified themselves inside, they began to rain down gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades on nearby buildings including the British and German embassies.

His handler during the raid, who cannot be identified, said Mali had saved the lives and limbs of British and Afghan troops as they fought up floor-by-floor through the six-storey block.

He said the dog had already “shown his mettle and built a reputation among all the guys”.

“By the time we launched on to this operation we really felt that we had a guardian angel amongst us, nothing was going to happen to us.”

The militants repeatedly threw grenades through holes in the floor down onto the approaching forces, peppering Mali and his handler with shrapnel.

The hander said: “We were in there for eight-and-a-half hours. We found ourselves in quite a dark sort of place. A couple of the guys I was working with had to be taken out with quite nasty injuries.”

Mali was trained both as an attack dog and sniffer dog. At one point he was sent ahead to see if he could find a safe route and prevented the unit advancing through an area laced with booby traps.

The handler said: “It stopped the guys I was working with using that route. If they had gone up there, people would have lost arms and legs and inevitably their lives.”

Mali’s injuries were only noticed when the fighting had finished and blood was seen running down his legs. The dog suffered wounds to his belly, ears and chest and had to be carried from the building.

The dog has now retired from active duties and is used as a training animal attached to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC).

Mali’s current handler, Cpl Dan Hatley, said the dog was driven and focussed.

“You can have a really good play with him, a really good cuddle, but at the same time, when you want to work, he’s on point, working,” he said.



Feb 21, 2007
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Interesting to note that references to a 'horse' are of course 'Hoofin'!
Can we have 'Paws' when referring to Dogs?

Just a thought.:)


What about Woofin? Will that do?

Sorry :(

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