The Associated Press
A former Royal Marine who runs an animal relief organization in Afghanistan said Thursday that he, his Afghan staff and dozens of dogs and cats are stuck outside Kabul airport to get a flight out of the country before evacuation efforts end.
Paul “Pen” Farthing appealed to the Taliban to allow the group a safe passage to the airport. . He tweeted to Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen: “We have been here 10 hours after being assured we had a safe passage.
For days, Farthing has been pushing for employees of his charity organization Nowzad to be brought out of Afghanistan along with around 200 rescued animals from the group.
Farthing supporters argued online with Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, who refused to put the animals on a Royal Air Force aircraft, saying, “I have to give people priority over pets right now.”
Celebrities like comedian Ricky Gervais have expressed their support for farthing and criticism of the UK government on social media.
The UK Defense Department later said it would help Farthing, his group and the animals depart in a chartered jet sponsored by Farthing’s supporters if they could reach the airport.
Wallace criticized “the bullying, falsehood and threatening behavior of some” towards defense personnel, saying it was “unacceptable and shameful”. On Twitter, he urged Farthing supporters to “please allow my officials and military to proceed with one of the most dangerous and difficult evacuations in a generation”.
Dominic Dyer, a British animal rights activist who supports farthing, said the chartered plane should leave the UK for Kabul later Thursday.
US Army Secretary James Heappey said Thursday that British forces at the airport would “facilitate” the flight. He told ITV that “the difficulty is getting pen to the airfield”.
Britain has urged people to stay out of the airport citing “very, very credible reports of an impending attack” from militants affiliated with the Islamic State group.
According to the British government, the RAF has flown more than 12,000 people, including over 7,000 Afghans, out of Kabul in the past two weeks. Heappey told the BBC that the UK plans to conduct eleven more evacuation flights from the airport on Thursday, but the “window of opportunity to evacuate people is closing” as the US prepares to end the operation by August 31st. p>
We have been here for 10 hours after being assured we would have a safe passage. I really want to go home now. Let’s prove that the IEA is taking a different path.
Let’s bring out some facts: 1. Nobody has blocked a flight at any time. This is a total myth and is being traded around as if the pet evacuation did not take place because of it. 2. I never said that I wouldn’t make it easier. I said no one would jump in line.
A US soldier stands inside the airport wall while hundreds of people collect some documents near an evacuation checkpoint on the edge of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 26, 2021 collect. (Wali Sabawoon / AP)
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