Pen Farthing given go-ahead to evacuate Afghanistan with rescue animals
The ex-marine Paul 'Pen' Farthing has secured himself a spot on a plane, as well as his staff and some 200 rescued animals
After weeks of campaigning and insistence that he would not leave Afghanistan without both his staff and the animals rescued by his charity, Nowzad, Paul 'Pen' Farthing has been cleared to evacuate with his team and precious cargo as soon as possible.
The former West Country-based Royal Marine was given the go-ahead overnight by the UK's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who said on Twitter that he and the Ministry of Defence will "seek a slot for his plane".
If he does not have his animals with him he and his staff can board an RAF flight. I have been consistent all along, ensuring those most at risk are processed first and that the limiting factor has been flow THROUGH to airside NOT airplane capacity. @DefenceHQ
— Rt. Hon Ben Wallace MP (@BWallaceMP) August 25, 2021
He reiterated that those "most at risk" would be processed first, having told Good Morning Britain that he could not put "animals before people", adding that "No one has the right to jump the queue".
Farthing had been campaigning to speed things along after he accused the MoD of delaying his evacuation plans. The 52-year-old from Devon had chartered a $500,000 private plane to land at Kabul Airport in an emergency effort to get him and his Nowzad charity workers out of the country, along with around 200 cats and dogs.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace has confirmed that if Pen Farthing arrives at the airport with his animals, officials would "seek a slot for his plane".
The former Royal Marine is trying to leave Afghanistan with 68 staff and 200 cats & dogs from a shelter.https://t.co/EBq3jjLOFu pic.twitter.com/iyKEAJEN1c
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) August 25, 2021
As the situation in Afghanistan continues to unfold and uncertainty looms over what steps the Taliban will take next - their August 31st evacuation ultimatum already sounding out a warning - this is one piece of positive news.
Meanwhile, the US managed to airlift 11,000 people in less than 36 hours last week - 823 Afghans on one plane in one instance - and the UK is aiming to double their evacuations numbers to 12,000 this week.
President Biden has intimated that America is on track to pull out all of its evacuees and military personnel, while Wallace said that any extension to the deadline is unlikely.
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