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As soldiers leave Iraq, bomb-sniffing dogs stay

Andrew Kramer reports for the New York Times:

Dogs have emerged as the most valuable bomb detectors in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, some of the canines used by United States forces in Afghanistan are coming down with post-traumatic stress disorder. And in Iraq, just as the American army is leaving, a large shipment of American dogs has arrived, though the Iraqis have been slow to use them.

Iraqi security forces long ago replaced United States and other foreign soldiers for most routine work at checkpoints with a notable exception: Western contractors still provide the dog handlers at the entrances to the fortified government complex in Baghdad.

Handling bomb-sniffing dogs would seem a critically important area of competence for the police in Iraq, but it has been one they are slow to pick up. The police are only now deploying large numbers of trained dogs, and say they have only half as many as needed.

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