Pen Farthing to be investigated after concerns over spending to get animals out of Afghanistan

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Former Royal Marine Paul 'Pen' Farthing - Nowzad/PA
Former Royal Marine Paul 'Pen' Farthing - Nowzad/PA

Pen Farthing's mission to transport rescue animals from Afghanistan back to the UK as the Taliban took over will be examined by the Charity Commission.

The former Royal Marine launched Operation Ark to evacuate his charity's staff members, their families and the animals in its care.

Mr Farthing's charity, Nowzad, raised more than £200,000 from supporters in days for the evacuation effort and insists it acted correctly.

Mr Farthing arrived in the UK along with over 170 cats and dogs via a privately funded charter flight on August 31.

Nowzad, which reported income of close to £1 million last year, told the BBC: "The trustees are wholly confident that Nowzad's life-saving work in incredibly difficult circumstances was both the right and only thing to do and was absolutely in furtherance of the charity's purpose."

The regulator said it has contacted Nowzad for further information after it received reports around the governance and financial arrangements of the evacuation operation.

It is examining the use of charity funds for Operation Ark, and whether this is in line with the charity's purpose.

Pen Farthing, founder of animal rescue charity Nowzad - Nowzad/PA
Pen Farthing, founder of animal rescue charity Nowzad - Nowzad/PA

"We will assess the information provided by the trustees to determine whether or not there is a role for the Commission," a spokesperson said.

The 67 staff who worked for Nowzad made it safely out of Afghanistan almost two weeks after Mr Farthing, in the biggest UK-aided evacuation since British troops left Kabul.

His campaign led to criticism that the British authorities were spending more resources on rescuing animals from Afghanistan rather than Afghan civilians and security personnel who had helped British forces against the Taliban.

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