Taliban stop ex-Royal Marine Pen Farthing animal rescue car as it reaches Kabul airport: Vehicle carrying 173 cats and dogs is detained for 10 hours despite pleas to let it through
- Charity boss Pen Farthing tried to flee Afghanistan with 94 dogs and 79 cats
- Blocked by guards for ten hours, he warns that the animals may die
- Boris Johnson ‘personally intervened’ to secure the release of the pets from Kabul. to assure
Taliban guards have blocked a convoy of an ex-Marine carrying 173 cats and dogs from entering the Kabul airport to flee Afghanistan.
Pen Farthing, the former commando turned animal charity boss, warned that the pets will die from the heat in their travel crates if the 10-hour standoff doesn’t end.
The founder of the charity Nowzad, who previously served in Afghanistan, tried to flee the country with 25 employees and their families along with the 94 dogs and 79 cats.
Taliban guards blocked Pen Farthing’s (pictured) convoy of 173 cats and dogs from entering Kabul airport to flee Afghanistan
They were stopped last night at a Taliban checkpoint during the race through the city where guns were pointed at the charity workers (file image)
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace was adamant that he would prioritize “people over pets” in evacuations, but Boris Johnson is said to have turned him down after his wife Carrie intervened to get an emergency airlift for the animals.
As part of Operation Ark, Farthing attempted to fly to the airport at midnight after loading two trucks with food and supplies in case they got stuck at the airport.
They were stopped last night at a Taliban checkpoint during the race through the city, where guns were pointed at the charities.
farthing told The sun: ‘About 15 guys jumped out and pointed their guns at us.
‘Then one of them had an ND [a negligent discharge]. Luckily he was like a bull’s eye and it went over our heads.
Government is still trying to evacuate thousands of British citizens trapped at Hamid Karzai . International Airport
“I rarely hear Afghans swear in English, but then I heard a few words.”
They were held at the checkpoint for an hour before they were finally allowed to drive through the city to the airport.
They arrived there at 2 am, but they still remain behind the blockade and cannot enter the transport hub.
Employees have parked their trucks in the shade to keep the animals cool and have sprayed the crates with water.
Farthing said he has been in contact with British troops but they are unable to intervene.
He made a direct appeal to the Taliban on Twitter in a desperate attempt to secure the animals’ release.
Speaking to Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, he wrote: “Dear Sir; my team and my animals are stuck in the airport circle. We have a flight waiting. Could you please provide safe passage to the airport for our convoy?
“We are an NGO that will come back to Afghanistan, but right now I want to get everyone out safely.
“We’ve been here for ten hours after making sure we’d have safe passage. Would really like to go home now.
“Let’s prove that the IEA is going in a different direction.”
The government is still trying to evacuate thousands of British citizens trapped at Hamid Karzai International Airport, which fell under Taliban control last week.
Animal rights activist Dominic Dyer, a friend of Mr Farthing, told MailPlus that the turnaround in animal evacuation followed an intervention by the Prime Minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, a staunch supporter of animal welfare issues.
But the claim was quickly rejected by the Defense Ministry, with a spokesman reportedly telling Sky News it was a “lie.”