Only now on my eighth mission to Afghanistan did I find out that there are, at least two, animal rescue organizations active in Kabul and other areas in Afghanistan. Needless to say that life for stray animals is extremely hard on the streets of Kabul. Animals suffer from diseases, malnutrition, and cruelty. Very cold winters, crazy traffic and a lack of animal welfare awareness add to the suffering of stray animals.

Yesterday I visited “Nowzad”, one of the two rescue organizations active in Kabul.

It is Nowzad’s mission:

‘To relieve the suffering of animals in Afghanistan; including companion animals, working equines, stray and abandoned dogs and cats and all other animals in need of care and attention, and to provide and maintain rescue, rehabilitation and education facilities for the care and treatment of such animals with no voice but ours’.

Nowzad originated in 2006 when Royal Marine Sergeant ‘Pen’ Farthing broke up an organized dog fight that was taking place right outside their remote compound in the town of Now Zad in Helmand province.  The now former fighting dog became the Sergeant’s battle buddy. The dog received his first ever name – “Nowzad”. This is when everything started… Now 12 years later the organization provides shelter to 130 stray dogs and 40 stray cats and provides medical treatment to ill and injured animals. Please visit the website for more information and consider making a donation.



This dog (left) was hit by a car. He suffered from spinal injury and one leg had to be amputated.



The dog in the middle was found with a collar that he was probably given as a pup. As he grew the collar cut off blood supply to his head and cutting through his neck and trachea. He was found with a severely swollen head. Nowzad staff and an international volunteer veterinarian performed surgery on him to remove the collar. The trachea was too severely damaged and could not be closed but he recovered well and he manages to breath through the hole in his trachea (see picture).



A newcomer rescued off the street



One of the oldest dogs at Nowzad. He was taken in because of his old age and now spends a large amount of his time sleeping next to the cat shelter.

nowzad extension material
Some awareness raising material used by Nowzad

Tigger House is the other animal rescue organisation. It is a small, low-cost animal shelter and veterinary clinic for homeless, sick or injured small animals in Kabul, Afghanistan. It has been in operation since 2004 and has cared for several thousand dogs and cats, as well as the occasional bird, rabbit and monkey. Please visit their website for more information and consider a donation.






Karkar 040Presentation presented during the 15th International Symposium of Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics (ISVEE) held from 12-16 November 2018 in Chiang Mai, Thailand

A divine day trip




This article published in BMC Public health addresses the lack of understanding of the inter-play of drivers, conditions and motives that influence preventive behaviors at the household level regarding H5N1 avian influenza virus. A Composite Risk Index (CRI) was developed to inform decision-makers of critical epidemiological, livelihood, food security and risk perception factors that were found to contribute to A(H5N1) vulnerability at the community level. Poverty, widowhood and lack of education were among the factors associated with high risk scores. The aim of the tool is to enable targeting those communities that are likely to be highly vulnerable to A(H5N1) outbreaks and where control and awareness-raising efforts are expected to be most effective.



More info at: http://www.marijnakkermans.nl/