Afghanistan: Boris Johnson told to 'get a grip' on Kabul evacuation as ex-Royal Marine describes 'stampede'

·3-min read

A former Royal Marine commando has demanded Boris Johnson "get a grip" on the evacuation effort from Kabul as he warned: "People are going to die."

Paul "Pen" Farthing - who founded an animal shelter in Afghanistan's capital - described to Sky News the "unimaginable horror show" as his wife and a pregnant employee attempted to get a flight out of the city.

He revealed he had still yet to hear from his wife after she and one of his staff members were caught in a "stampede" outside Kabul's airport.

And he accused both the UK and US governments of "not telling the truth" about the chaos within the city following its takeover by the Taliban.

"My wife and my country manager, who is 34 weeks' pregnant, they were told by the evacuation teams that they need to get to Kabul airport within the next hour to get their flights, their evacuation flights out," Mr Farthing said.

"There is no security on the outside of Kabul airport. They got caught in a crush, in a stampede.

"This is a 34-week pregnant woman and my wife getting caught in a stampede. They were at the gate of Kabul airport on the side they'd been told to go."

Mr Farthing, who served in Afghanistan's Helmand province in the mid-2000s, said he was "absolutely furious" with British and American soldiers who "refused to go out of that camp to rescue those people to get them inside the safety of Kabul airfield".

"Boris Johnson and all of the senior staff of this government need to know what a complete cluster they are making of this withdrawal from Afghanistan," he added.

"People are going to die. Outside it is not secure.

"And if the British military are there and they will not get outside and rescue some of the people that they've been sent to get out of Kabul safely, then what is the point in them being here?"

Mr Farthing described how "thousands and thousands of desperate Afghans" are trying to get into Kabul airport to "escape the mess we made" in the country.

He said he still did not know the whereabouts of his wife, but that his pregnant country manager and her young son had managed to escape the crush and were now attempting to reach another secure location near to the airport.

"Somebody needs to get a grip," he added.

"If they are injured or hurt, I will personally hold Boris Johnson and the whole of this government to account. This is not acceptable."

Afghanistan swiftly fell to Taliban control following the withdrawal of Western troops earlier this year, although US President Joe Biden has remained defiant over his decision to bring home American soldiers after two decades in the country.

Mr Farthing said the UK and US had displayed "an absolute masterclass in how to do everything wrong in a withdrawal from a country that we have completely messed up".

"We cannot get to Kabul airport. Outside of that perimeter, the Taliban now control everything," he said.

"I am beyond furious. This government, along with Joe Biden, have created an absolutely unimaginable horror show of a withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"And somebody's going to die, because there is no control outside of that airport.

"Something needs to be done.. they need to now get people to actually control this situation."

"I actually thought the government was going to get a handle on this. They're not. People are not telling the truth about what is going on in Kabul."

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