Michael's Dispatches

AfCats - Wild Cats of Afghanistan


12 January 2012

First came the rumors.  Innumerable US Soldiers claimed to have seen large cats in Kandahar Province.  More than once I saw Afghan Soldiers laugh it off, saying our folks were seeing apparitions.  The Afghans would say, yes, there can be big cats in the mountains, but not here.

But time after time, men said they saw the cats with night vision gear, thermals, or in broad daylight.  Some who made these claims were country boys who grew up hunting, and so their words carried particular weight.  They said the cats did not just come and vanish quickly, but our men often watched the cats for minutes at a time.  They said the cats could even jump over the large Afghan walls.


A Soldier just sent these new photos from Afghanistan.  They were taken from a helicopter just a couple of miles northwest of Kandahar Airfield.  Maybe these cats know who launches those rockets onto the airfield.


Unfortunately, I never got a chance to photograph or even see one.  Thank you to the Soldier who transmitted these images.  This is much appreciated.

NatGeo has some great shots of other AfCats:

Snow Leopard Population Rebounding in Afghanistan

"Lost" Leopard—And Poachers—Seen in Afghanistan

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