Ex-marine vows not to flee Kabul without his animal rescue staff

Pen Farthing with a fighting dog he rescued in Afghanistan in 2006 (Picture: Rex/Shutterstock)
A Royal Marine veteran who founded an animal sanctuary in Afghanistan has promised not to leave the country without his staff. Former Commando Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing said his wife tried to escape at Kabul Airport yesterday, but she became ‘crushed’ in the uncontrolled crowd. He has now urged the British Government to help his staff, their families, and the 140 dogs and 40 cats leave Afghanistan under a campaign called Operation Ark, which aims to fundraise £200,000.

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After serving in the Afghan province of Helmand in the mid-2000s, Mr Farthing set up the Nowzad animal charity, which has been rescuing stray dogs , cats and other animals for 15 years. Another campaign called Rescue the Animal Rescuers has called on the Prime Minister to include the Nowzad staff on the British Rescue list. Animal welfare activist Dominic Dyer started the campaign, and said he has been in touch with Mr Farthing after his wife tried to leave Kabul. He said: ‘The situation as it stands is that Pen has tried to get his wife and his office manager out of Kabul on a commercial flight, on the basis that the governments in Britain and America were saying the airport was more secure, but when he got there he found it wasn’t secure at all.

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Undated handout photo of Pen Farthing, founder of animal rescue charity Nowzad, who has pleaded to the British government to withdraw his staff from Kabul. Farthing, a former Royal Marine Commando, is campaigning for the government to have 71 people flown to the UK from Afghanistan after Taliban seized the city. Issue date: Monday August 16, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Afghanistan. Photo credit should read: Nowzad/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Pen Farthing’s sanctuary has been rescuing dogs and cats for 15 years (Picture: PA)
Undated handout photo of Pen Farthing, founder of animal rescue charity Nowzad, who has pleaded to the British government to withdraw his staff from Kabul. Farthing, a former Royal Marine Commando, is campaigning for the government to have 71 people flown to the UK from Afghanistan after Taliban seized the city. Issue date: Monday August 16, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Afghanistan. Photo credit should read: Nowzad/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Pen Farthing’s wife became ‘crushed’ when she tried to escape Afghanistan at Kabul Airport (Picture: PA)

‘They were crushed when they got the airport, it was very dangerous.

‘He was very angry that UK military forces deployed on the other side of the fence did not actually step over the line to try and stop the situation, leaving civilians and foreign nationals trying to exit the country in a very dangerous position.

‘I do think it raises serious concerns about what is going to happen unless those soldiers and armed forces are able to exit the airport security cordon to take more control of the surrounding areas – at the moment that’s just not happening.’

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Mr Farthing previously said he has ‘never been as worried and frightened about the future as I am now with what is happening in Afghanistan’.
Undated handout photo of Pen Farthing, founder of animal rescue charity Nowzad, who has pleaded to the British government to withdraw his staff from Kabul. Farthing, a former Royal Marine Commando, is campaigning for the government to have 71 people flown to the UK from Afghanistan after Taliban seized the city. Issue date: Monday August 16, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Afghanistan. Photo credit should read: Nowzad/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Pen Farthing has vowed not to leave Afghanistan without 71 refugees (Picture: PA)
Pen Farthing served in the Afghan province of Helmand in the mid-2000s (Picture: Rex/Shutterstock)
He added: ‘Our Western governments gave the young generations of Afghanistan hope for the future, and in one swift stroke of a White House pen they abandoned them to the wolves.

‘Everyone who cares for compassionate caring people now needs to step up and let their voices be heard. They have no future if you do not.

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‘Reach out to press, MPs, senators and presidents and prime ministers.

‘Western soldiers died in Afghanistan for this brief future we gave the Afghan people. Their loss was clearly now for nothing.

‘More than ever the people of Afghanistan, the real people who are just like you and me with aspirations and hope, need our voices and our governments’ intervention.

‘The withdrawal from Afghanistan was a terrible mistake.’

Mr Dyer added that although he believes the Government will add the vets to the list due to huge public pressure, the logistics of ‘getting them out’ is rapidly becoming a ‘bigger worry’ than ‘getting them on the list’.

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‘I think that’s where the governments of the United States and Britain have to sort themselves out quickly. It’s a logistics security issue,’ he said. The Foreign Office has been contacted for comment.

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