/Pen Farthing and rescue animals inside Kabul airport awaiting evacuation

Pen Farthing and rescue animals inside Kabul airport awaiting evacuation

Defence bosses said on Friday night that the former Royal Marine ‘and his pets’ had been processed at Kabul airport and ‘are currently being supported while he awaits transportation’

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Pen Farthing: Peter Egan provides update on evacuation

Pen Farthing and his rescue animals will make it out of Afghanistan after being saved by British troops.

Defence bosses said on Friday night that the former Royal Marine “and his pets” had been processed at Kabul airport.

Mr Farthing – real name Paul – had been turned away the day before due to a change in “paperwork rules”, he said.

But he is now in place to transport his some 200 cats and dogs out of the Middle East, the Ministry of Defence confirmed.

“Pen Farthing and his pets were assisted through the system at Kabul airport by the UK Armed Forces,” a tweet said.

“They are currently being supported while he awaits transportation.

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Mr Farthing said he was turned away on Thursday after documentation rules were changed

“On the direction of the Defence Secretary, clearance for their charter flight has been sponsored by the UK Government.”

Mr Farthing’s plight – dubbed ‘Operation Ark’ – has been at the centre of a row around the prioritisation of animals above humans.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace previously said he would not put “pets over people”, and hit out at supporters of the ex-Commando for taking up the time of senior officials.

But the Tory MP appears to have changed his mind, and has allowed Mr Farthing and his staff to pass through the airport before the deadline.

Earlier on Friday, Mr Wallace said MoD staff had faced abuse from Mr Farthing’s supporters.

Mr Farthing’s plight has been dubbed ‘Operation Ark’



Mr Farthing claimed on social media his team and the rescue animals had managed to reach Kabul airport on Thursday, only to be “turned away” due to changes in paperwork rules made by the US some hours earlier.

Speaking to LBC, Mr Wallace said: “I think it has taken up too much time of my senior commanders dealing with this issue when they should be focused on dealing with the humanitarian crisis.”

Mr Wallace used a series of tweets on Thursday to hit out at the criticism from Mr Farthing’s supporters and condemned “bullying, falsehoods and threatening behaviour” towards MoD staff.

The Defence Secretary, when asked about his tweets, told LBC: “My people were focused for the last two weeks on a humanitarian crisis.

Mr Farthing’s rescue has been at the centre of a row over the prioritisation of animals over humans



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“I had to listen sometimes to calls of abuse to my advisers, to my officials, based mainly on falsehoods, that somebody, somewhere had blocked a flight – no-one blocked a flight.

“Fundamentally, as we have seen on the media, there are desperate, desperate people, and I was not prepared to push those people out of the way for that.

“When people’s time is right, they were called forward, and that’s the right thing to do. But I hope he comes back, he was advised to come back, his wife came back last Friday, so I hope he does as well.”

Mr Farthing said his team were 300m inside Kabul Airport on Thursday but were turned away and as a result got caught up in the terror attack that killed Afghan civilians queuing up to flee the Taliban and US troops.

“Went through hell to get there & we were turned away into the chaos of those devastating explosions,” he said on Twitter.

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