A British Special Forces dog is being awarded the highest honor possible after heroically saving lives and protecting soldiers from Taliban attack.
Mali, an 8-year old Belgian Malinois, is a trained sniffer and attack dog for the British Special Forces. Today, he will receive the PDSA Dickin Medal, which is the highest honor for an animal to receive in the country.
The PDSA award is the equivalent of Britain’s Victoria Cross, which is the highest award in the British honors system.
Mali is receiving credit for saving the lives of elite British troops during an operation in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
Details of the Operation
Mali’s group had a mission to mentor Afghan soldiers to take charge of their own military situations.
They had trained dogs on the ground to assist in operations requiring their human and explosives detection skills.
In 2012, a Taliban suicide bomb cell was detected near Kabul’s diplomatic district. When the British and Afghani troops had to storm the cell, Mali was there to help, and saved lives in the process.
Mali was sent up in front of the soldiers to detect explosives and give them a safe route to follow.
While the troops were making their way through the six story building, Mali sniffed out Taliban booby traps and alerted the soldiers to Jihadis. He also ran in front of live fire.
This operation lasted for eight and a half hours, and left many injured – including Mali.
He suffered severe injuries by shrapnel from grenade blasts, with wounds to his ears, chest, and stomach.
Why Mali is Being Awarded
By Mali leading the way and detecting what the soldiers could not detect, he saved them from injury and death.
The medal is being awarded to Mali by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a top British veterinary charity. Mali happens to be receiving this award on the PDSA’s 100th anniversary.
PDSA’s director, Jan McLoughlin, said that Mali by exposing himself to close combat during such an intense enemy attack, Mali’s heroism makes him an incredibly worthy recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal. She was happy that Mali got to help the charity bring in their 100th anniversary.
Mali’s handler (who cannot be identified for security reasons) was also awarded a gallantry medal for the bravery he displayed during the critical mission.
In a statement, the PDSA said, “Mali displayed outstanding courage in the face of fire and there is no doubt that his actions throughout the operation were pivotal in the success of breaking an enemy stronghold, helping to save multiple lives and prevent further injury.”
Mali is the 69th recipient of this most honorable award. He joins other heroic animals, including 31 dogs, 4 horses, 32 messenger pigeons, and one cat.