NEWS AND COMMENT – KABUL, AFGHANISTAN: The background to this story is useful to know. Nowzad is an animal charity run by Mr Pen Farthing in Kabul. They rescue cats and dogs and other animals. They reunite cats and dogs that have been adopted by military personnel while serving in Afghanistan after they return home. This is an expensive process. Mr Farthing is a great fundraiser. He has connections. Now that the Taliban have taken over Afghanistan, Mr Farthing wants to fly his staff and animals out of Kabul to the UK.
He said that he obtained an agreement from Mr Johnson, UK Prime Minister, to do this. He says in a tweet that his staff were granted visas. However, in a subsequent communication he tells us that the flight out of Kabul has been blocked by, he alleges, Peter Quentin, the specially adviser to Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary. He made the allegation on Sky News. Mr Farthing also says that he’s been cut off from his direct communications with the Ministry of Defence’s helpline.
Update 25 Aug: Sky News reports that the MOD has relented and the privately funded flight can now take place. The problem now is that the Taliban have said that Afghanis cannot leave the country. Farthings staff are Afghanis as I understand it. More problems and more chaos. This will test Mr Farthings skills.
Update: Headline in news media: ‘US Military Dogs Reportedly Given Seats On Flights As Refugees Flee Taliban’. Here is a photo! What’s going on with the British government?
Mr Wallace the Defence Secretary of the UK said:
“As for the animals that he has rescued and saved, it is just not going to be the case that I will prioritise them over the men, women and children we see in desperate need at the gate.”
Mr Farthing has to be believed and it is shocking news. It is the sort of situation where Carrie Johnson, the Prime Minister’s wife, should step in and kick some arse. Apparently, Quentin, supported or directed by Wallace, does not want news media video footage of cats and dogs being carried onto a plane and shipped to the UK because it will indicate that the UK is prioritising animals over Afghanis. That is the gist of the information that I am receiving on the Internet. And perhaps he doesn’t want this because of bio-security reasons. I am referring to rabies and perhaps Covid-19 being carried by some of these rescue cats and dogs. But this is highly shortsighted. The animals could be kept in quarantine.
Mr Farthing employs a lot of people at his Nowzad animal sanctuary. They were told by him that the British government through the Prime Minister had granted visas to them and now he has to go back to them and say that that has been rescinded. This is deeply disappointing and totally unfair. It is bad behaviour by the British government.
Mr Farthing is deeply disappointed as well because as he rightly states he has served Queen and country for 22 years in the military before he set up Nowzad. He feels that he has been abandoned as a British national ‘behind enemy lines’ with the Taliban circling around not knowing what the hell is going to happen to him and his animals. And his staff, of course, have been fraternising with a British national which may be a problem for them bearing in mind the Taliban’s incredibly poor human rights and animal rights record and their dislike of the British and Americans.
One aspect of this sad discussion is that the Taliban want to create a state governed by sharia law i.e. strict Islamic law. This is highly misogynistic, we know that. We know how women are treated incredibly badly indeed violence by the Taliban. They promised that they’ve changed but they probably haven’t. There are clear signs that they are regressing to their usual behaviour. Also, there is a disconnect between the leaders and the country bumpkins wielding Kalashnikovs who are on the ground brutalising people waiting to get onto flights out of Kabul.
But the point I want to make is this: the Prophet Muhammad, it is reported, loved cats. Pretty well all of us know the story of his favourite cat Muezza. And there are hadiths which guide Muslims in how to interact with cats both domestic and feral. These are rules for people of the Islamic faith and they are designed to treat cats kindly thanks to the Prophet who was a cat lover. I expect, therefore, that the domestic cats in the care of Nowzad will be okay and left alone by the Taliban.
Unfortunately, Islamic faith suffers from a massive dose of speciesism i.e. animal racism. They hate dogs and consider them to be unclean for entirely unreasonable reasons. It’s a throwback to 1,500 years ago. It is simply a misguided concept but unfortunately dogs suffer as a consequence. I would expect, therefore, that Nowzad to have problems with looking after dogs at the animal sanctuary under the Taliban.
Mr Farthing has promised that he will get his animals and his staff out of Kabul in a flight which, incidentally, is being paid for privately. No taxpayer money is involved in this evacuation flight. It is simply a question of the government being reasonable enough to allow them to fly to the UK. Carrie Johnson has to talk to Mr Quentin asap to convince him to change his mind and be reasonable.
These embeds may disappear over time because they are deleted at source. Sorry it that has happened.
I have been left to fend for myself in Kabul. Cut off from my #MoD support line by the special advisor to @benwallacemp 22 year Marine left behind lines.. neither my staff or animals will now get out – cheers @BorisJohnson @10DowningStreet @BBCWorld @BBCNews @SkyNews @DailyMailUK https://t.co/xraUtujbNQ
— Pen Farthing (@PenFarthing) August 23, 2021
SOME MORE ON THE ISLAMIC FAITH AND CATS AND DOGS