Afghanistan: Pen Farthing’s convoy of rescue dogs targeted by gunman as bomb goes off at Kabul airport
EX-ROYAL Marine Pen Farthing has said his trucks carrying nearly 200 rescue animals were attacked by a gunman just after the Kabul airport blast.
Farthing has been trapped by the Taliban with the cats and dogs outside the airport – where what is thought to have a been a suicide bomb exploded today.
Ex-commando Pen founded Nowzad, an animal rescue charity, after serving in Afghanistan in 2007.
He made a midnight dash with his 25 Afghan staff and their families after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace agreed to let him land a private charter flight to fly them all to Britain.
But they have been stuck outside the airport since then, with the animals crammed in crates in two trucks.
And today they were right outside the airfield when two explosions hit the airport.
A US official confirmed the first blast at Abbey Gate was caused by a suicide bomb, with initial reports suggesting the second explosion was a car bomb.
Farthing said: “We’re fine but everything is chaos here at the moment.
The blast carnage at the airport comes as…
- Hours before UK government warned Kabul Airport faced ‘imminent, highly lethal’ attack
- Desperate Afghans were told ‘forget airport and run for border’ to flee from Taliban
- Ex-Marine Pen Farthing and his 200 animals were blocked from airport by Taliban
- Taliban took a US Black Hawk helicopter for joy ride after seizing 200,000 firearms
“All of a sudden we heard gunshots and our vehicle was targeted, had our driver not turned around he would have been shot in the head by a man with an AK-47.
“We’ve been in the airport, and back out of the airport; the whole thing’s a mess.
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“There’s not much more I can say at the moment, I need to make sure the animals and everyone is safe.”
There were two blasts minutes apart near the Abbey Gate on the southern side of the airport.
ISIS are believed to be behind the horrific blast, a source told Politico.
Three US troops and dozens of civilians were among those hurt in the carnage at the gate, where thousands of people have massed over the past 12 days hoping to be evacuated after the Taliban seized power.
Reports said the blast was close to the Baron Hotel near the gate, which Western nations had used to stage some evacuations.
Bloodied survivors were raced from the scene in wheelbarrows, according to local TV news channels.
Horrific footage shows loved ones searching through piles of bloodied bodies and rubble for survivors.
A UK official said there were no reports of British military of government casualties, but US soldiers had been hurt.
It comes after officials admitted there is a "very real risk" of an ISIS attack as thousands of Afghans have been gathered at the airport for days trying to flee the country since the Taliban takeover earlier this month.
An Italian military plane with 100 Afghans on board was hit by gunfire earlier today.
The plane was not damaged in the incident, a source at Italy's Defence Ministry said.
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