- Mali, a Belgian Malinois, took part in a raid in Kabul in 2012.
- He was wounded repeatedly while helping UK special forces.
- Mali is receiving the Dickin Medal for gallantry in London on Friday.
A British Army service dog is being awarded the highest honour available to animal combatants for displaying extraordinary bravery on the field of battle in Afghanistan.
Mali, an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois, was injured by three separate grenade blasts during an assault by special forces on a Taliban stronghold, but kept fighting.
He stuck with his handlers, members of Britain’s elite Special Boat Service (SBS), during the 2012 operation in Kabul, performing “above and beyond the call of duty.”
In recognition of his service, Mali is being awarded the Dickin Medal, which is described as an animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, the highest British award for military gallantry.
- Sky News
A press release from The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals – the charity which awards the medal – described Mali’s actions in more detail. The operation was a joint enterprise between British, Afghan, and other coalition forces.
“MWD (Military Working Dog) Mali was part of a British Military unit deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. During his tenure, Mali was deployed to assist in an operation to secure an enemy stronghold, situated in a multi-storey building. The significance of his actions during this seven-and- a-half- hour mission saw him perform above and beyond the call of duty on numerous occasions.
“Mali was sent through direct fire on two separate occasions to conduct searches for explosives. He also indicated the presence of insurgents numerous times, giving the assault force vital milliseconds to engage the enemy in close quarter combat.
“During the operation, Mali was hoisted up the outside of the building several times to provide the assault force with a key foothold to attack the insurgents.
“In the melée that took place, the assault force sustained casualties. Mali was also seriously injured by three grenade blasts; the first two explosions caused injuries to his chest, front and rear legs. A further blast detonated close to his face, causing the loss of Mali’s front tooth and damage to his right ear.
“Despite his injuries, Mali continued his duties and pushed forward, remaining close to his handler. He played a key role in breaking the stalemate that had begun to develop in the building, providing impetus for the host nation and UK forces to continue to fight and bring about a successful resolution.
“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 due to be awarded the Dickin Medal at a ceremony in central London on Friday afternoon. The British Army’s Facebook page also published this video celebrating Mali’s achievement:
Mali’s handler at the time was also awarded a gallantry medal for his actions, but his identity has been kept secret for security reasons.
After the raid, Mali transferred from frontline duties with the SBS. He now works with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps and helps to train new dog handlers.