Afghanistan: Ex-Marine Pen Farthing says he will have to put animals to sleep on the Kabul trail after UK ‘abandons’ charity | World news


A former Royal Marine in Kabul has said he will have to put his charity’s cats and dogs to sleep after the Defense Secretary said he must “put people first over pets”.

Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing, who founded Nowzad, claimed the Department of Defense (MoD) blocked a charter flight it had funded crowdfunding to bring its 69 employees and 100 animals back to the UK after the Taliban grasped Afghanistan.

He said Boris Johnson approved the flight but the Defense Ministry refused to grant the aircraft the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) air sign so it could enter and exit the airport. .

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“I must give priority to people rather than pets”

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News: “He could walk through the doors as a UK passport holder. He was called on Friday and I recommend that he do so.

“His workforce has been offered, as authorized personnel, places and they will be able to be called forward, but I cannot guarantee in this window that they will be processed on planes, all I can. to say is that they are admissible.

“When it comes to the animals he was saving, it just won’t be the case as I prioritize them over the men, women and children we see desperately in need at the gate.

“I regret it, but I don’t think the Taliban’s main focus will be its workforce and animals, compared to the people at the front of the line.”

He said the charter flight would “block the airfield and sit there empty” when the British try to get the flow of people through the barriers and onto the planes.

“I am not prepared to prioritize pets over people,” added Mr. Wallace.

Mr Farthing, reacting to Mr Wallace’s comments, told Sky News he had not received any written confirmation that his staff were allowed to travel to England.

He said: “If I am stopped with them at a Taliban checkpoint, they will turn around and Mr. Wallace knows I said I am not leaving here without my staff.

Paul "Pen"  Farthing.  Photo: Nowzad
Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing runs an animal charity in Afghanistan. Photo: Nowzad

“So I’m not just going to go to the airport and get on a plane and his problem will go away.”

Mr Farthing, who was a navy for 22 years, also said his “hotline” with the Defense Ministry was canceled so he could no longer get updates or provide updates. at the Ministry of Defense.

“He abandoned me here in Afghanistan and wants me to shut up, not under my watch, Mr. Wallace,” he added.

British armed forces evacuate people from Kabul airport
Mr Farthing said his charter flight needed an ISAF call sign in order to land and take off

He admitted that British troops could not help him get to the airport, saying “it’s my problem”, but said he would drive his staff and animals to the airport.

“If they don’t allow me to get on that plane, I will have to put all my dogs and cats to sleep on the runway,” he said.

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“He just told me to go to the airport and I’m taking my staff and animals with me.

“I am not dictated by a member of Parliament just because he failed to get people off the ground, we are going to end up leaving people behind, it was a disaster.”

Mr Farthing added that other charter flights were arriving at Kabul airport and said: “If America can do it, why can’t Britain, I don’t apologize.”

And after seeing photos of a car placed on an evacuation flight, he said he was “not backing up.”

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