The Donkey Sanctuary has spoken out after armed opposition terrorists loaded a donkey with bombs and sent it on a suicide mission against a security target in Afghanistan.

The charity has condemned the attack, which took place on Monday, 12 March, in its entirety. Two policemen in Kunar province were injured when explosives being carried by a donkey were detonated before it reached its intended target of a security post.

Reported by Chinese news agency Xinhua, provincial police chief Haqnawaz Haqyar said: “The armed opposition terrorists adjusted an explosive device on a donkey and were attempting to detonate it next to a police checkpoint in the Sayed Khil area of Sarkano, but a police patrol stopped the donkey and the militants nearby detonated it with remote control injuring two local police personnel.”

Cruel and cowardly

Simon Pope, rapid response and campaigns manager at The Donkey Sanctuary, says: “Donkeys are often called beasts of burden but the only beasts in this story are the cruel individuals who sent them on such a cowardly and fateful mission. That they should use an innocent animal in this way is shameful.”

Taliban militants who are active in Sarkano district and largely dependent on suicide and roadside bombings have yet to comment on the attack

Simon continues: “Used across the world to deliver heavy loads, this is not the first time the humble donkey has been exploited in this most barbaric way. The animals have been used to carry bombs in Afghanistan on at least two occasions in the past – in 2009 and 2014.

"In the 2009 attack, the poor creature was shot before it reached a security post after a guard noticed men running away from the donkey after sending it running towards the post.”

Previous attacks

In 2014, Hamas militants used a donkey laden with explosives for a suicide attack on an Israeli army position in the southern city of Rafah, near the Egyptian border. Troops were forced to open fire on the animal - blowing it up before it reached them.

Animal-borne attacks tend to catch security forces unaware and the latest donkey attack in Afghanistan will give Afghan security forces another potential threat to look out for.

The Donkey Sanctuary champions donkeys and their welfare, and aims for a world where donkeys live free from suffering and their contribution to humanity is fully valued.