Yes, Mr Farthing and 94 dogs and 79 cats have left Afghanistan in an evacuation flight on a privately chartered aircraft sponsored by the Ministry of Defence at around 4:30 PM this Saturday, August 28, 2021. He had to leave his Nowzad staff behind even though there were granted visas. The Taliban prevented his staff entering the airport. I believe they have flown to the capital of Uzbekistan initially. They’ll will then travel to the UK, I understand.
British troops assisted. Farthing said:
“They have put me in a warehouse and they have been really helpful loading and unloading the crates”
This information comes from The Telegraph newspaper (the quote from The Independent) and it is supported by other news media outlets. Of course, I cannot be 100% certain that the information is strictly correct but I am confident that it is because I have been reading the news media regularly over the last few days and the reports have gradually built up to this point.
The Telegraph also reports on a lot of animosity between Mr Farthing and a special adviser to Ben Wallace the Defence Secretary. The name of the special adviser is Peter Quentin. Farthing is said to have told Mr Quentin who served in the army in Afghanistan: “I am going to destroy you”. This threat arose out of the belief that Quentin had unreasonably stalled the evacuation of Nowzad animals and indeed the staff.
It is said that if the MoD had acted faster and more reasonably (according to Mr Farthing) they would have all got out and much earlier. Ben Wallace was concerned about Mr Farthing and his animals ‘jumping the queue’ to use his language. To use modern terminology, the optics would’ve been bad. I have to comment on that because it seems to be a foolhardy statement.
Mr Farthing consistently made it clear that he had made arrangements for a privately sponsored charter aircraft to take the animals out of Afghanistan. He would not have prevented any people getting out because his aircraft was in addition to the existing aircraft. This was not a case of queue jumping. In fact, Farthing offered spare seats on his aircraft to Afghan evacuees. Wallace got it completely wrong. And no tax-payer money is involved. The cost has been met by private donations.
Mr Quentin is concerned that this story may jeopardise his chances of becoming a Member of Parliament in the future.
Mr Farthing is the founder and manager of Nowzad, an animal rescue charity based in Kabul which reunites military personnel with their rescue, support animals once they return to the USA or other country of origin. It is a brilliant but expensive operation that has made many military personnel and their animal companions very happy.
Further questions now need to be raised. Will Nowzad continue to operate? It is a valuable service to Afghanis. Many cats and dogs need rescuing. Incidentally there are also some other animals at the rescue such as goats. They’ve remained at Kabul as I understand it.
Mr Farthing’s tweet when he landed at Heathrow:
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