Has Pen Farthing left Afghanistan?
PEN Farthing has safely arrived back in the UK, following his evacuation from Afghanistan.
The former Royal Marine commando flew into London Heathrow on Sunday morning – just days after he was helped by the British Army to board a private flight out of the Taliban-controlled country.
Has Pen Farthing left Afghanistan?
On Friday night, Farthing, 57, was finally admitted in to Kabul airport with his rescue dogs and cats for a stressful evacuation.
Hours later the plane chartered took off – first flying to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and then on to the UK.
On Friday, the Ministry of Defence tweeted: "Pen Farthing and his pets were assisted through the system at Kabul airport by the UK armed forces.
"They are currently being supported while he awaits transportation.
"On the direction of the Defence Secretary, clearance for their charter flight has been sponsored by the UK Government."
But they were then banned from crossing a line into the military controlled area.
Pen said: "It was surreal to see British and Taliban side-by-side.
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"It took about half an hour for the Taliban to release and we drove to the British side.
“The driver had to get out at the crossing point and a British para took over the driving.
“The soldiers have been really helpful.
"They have put me in a warehouse and they have been really helpful loading and unloading the crates.”
Paul Farthing, known as Pen, founded the Nowzad shelter in 2007 to rescue animals in Kabul, Afghanistan.
His wife, Kaisa Markhus, 30, who is from Norway, was evacuated out of Afghanistan on an almost empty plane and finally arrived home on August 19.
She and a pregnant American friend, who manages the Nowzad animal sanctuary set up by her husband, had to push their way through a sea of men, women and children to get to an access gate.
Since the Taliban reclaimed control of Afghanistan in August 2021, Pen has launched a fundraiser titled Operation Ark to transport staff and 200 animals from his animal rescue organisation, Nowzad, in Kabul out of the country to the UK in a private plane.
Have Pen Farthing's animals left Afghanistan?
Fortunately, the animals, including 94 dogs and 79 cats, have also been allowed to leave with him.
They will now reportedly have to quarantine under UK law.
It was reported that Farthing packed 125kg of dry pet food, 72 tins, 270 litres of water, 12 industrial size rolls of paper towel and 20 bottles of disinfectant for mucking out the crates during the private rescue flight to Britain.
Have Pen Farthing's staff left Afghanistan?
Armed militants banned the ex-Commando's Afghan workers from boarding a private rescue flight to Britain.
And Pen was forced to leave his Afghan staff – who had reared dozens of the rescued animals by hand.
The distraught man told The Sun: “It is just so depressing I had to leave them behind.
“Some of them came with me to the airport but they weren’t allowed to cross the line from Taliban to British control.
“There were lots of tears when we said goodbye.
Some of Pen's staff drove with him to the airport, in a convoy of two cattle trucks.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said officials would seek a runway slot for the plane chartered by Pen, 57, to evacuate him, his staff and their animals if they went to Kabul Airport.
But, Pen, 69 Afghan adults and kids, and the animals were 300 metres inside the airport perimeter when the Taliban told the group it couldn't board a jet.
He said: "We had gone through hell to get there… it took 36 hours to achieve that".
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