Pen Farthing ‘so bloody happy’ after animal rescue workers escape Afghanistan

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Pen Farthing (PA Media)
Pen Farthing (PA Media)

Pen Farthing accused of putting pets before people after airlifting more than a hundred cats and dogs out of Kabul but leaving his Afghan volunteers behind has said he is“so bloody happy” that his staff have finally been flown to safety.

The former marine shared a picture of his Nowzad colleagues smiling in neighbouring Pakistan, described the moment as “absolutely mind-blowing” when they managed to get out of Taliban controlled Kabul on Saturday.

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he would be welcoming the staff to the UK soon.

Mr Farthing said the Nowzad staff are “now safely in Islamabad and in the care of the British High Commission! I am so bloody happy right now!”.

He said: “This is absolutely mind-blowing. It has still not really sunk in.”

Mr Farthing said he had seen pictures of the staff after their arrival and the smiles on their faces “just tells you everything you need to know”.

Mr Farthing tweeted that his Operation Ark campaign to get workers and animals from the Nowzad shelter in Kabul out of the country has been “a complete success”.

The Afghan staff had reared dozens of rescued animals by hand but were not able to leave during the hurried mass evacuation as foreign troops withdrew from the nation some two decades after US forces removed the militants from power in 2001.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “Pleased that Nowzad’s Afghan staff, who were called for evacuation, successfully crossed the border into Pakistan today. Our @ukinpakistanstaff are assisting them and we look forward to welcoming them to the UK in the coming days.”

Since arriving back in England at the end of August, Mr Farthing had been working to help evacuate 68 Nowzad animal shelter staff and family members, including 25 children and one newborn baby, from Afghanistan.

The Operation Ark campaign has caused controversy, despite receiving a huge amount of public support.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace complained some of Mr Farthing’s more militant supporters had “taken up too much time” of senior commanders.

Mr Farthing also apologised for leaving an expletive-laden message for a Government aide as he was trying to carry out the evacuation.

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