NEWS AND COMMENT: Former British Marine Pen Farthing has recounted his experiences now that he’s back in the UK with the animals he so successfully evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan. Previously he had said that the Taliban would ban dogs but accept cats. I wrote about that statement. Of course, he has first-hand experience of the Taliban’s relationship with dogs. The Taliban operate speciesism which is a form of animal racism. As Muslims, they believe that dogs are unclean but accept cats because the Prophet Muhammad loved them (apparently) although I dispute that.
He said in a text that his mate Dave, who ran a security company in Kabul, got out two hours before him but he left behind his two pet dogs, one of whom was Brutus, with his staff. He texted:
“The bastards just shot Brutus. They went round the compound, saw the dogs, dragged them into the open and shot them”.
He followed that by saying: “I couldn’t let my dogs be shot”. His staff had encouraged him to get out in saying: “Don’t stay. You’ve got to take the dogs out. The Taliban will just shoot them.”
He also said that the British Ministry of Defence took six days to produce the paperwork to allow him to leave after they promised they would do it. Because it took so long, he ended up at the gates to the airport with the correct paperwork at that time but three hours earlier President Biden had changed the rules and his paperwork was no longer valid. Therefore, he couldn’t get in. He was with his animals and his staff at that time. He had to turn back.
Because of this, he says, when he tried again and was successful, he had to leave his staff behind. His staff was his family. Many of them were women. I recall seeing a photograph of a female veterinarian who worked at Nowzad (see photograph below). At least he got his dogs out.
His dogs are back in the UK with the cats. I have not seen a single photograph of a domestic cat rescued by Nowzad and now in the UK. There are meant to be around 70. All the photographs are of dogs which have been dispersed to sanctuaries and shelters in the UK to begin their quarantine period. Mr Farthing says that he has homes for nearly all of them. They are popular. A lot of people have participated in Mr Farthing’s traumatic journey and I suspect become connected to these animals and they want to play their part.
However, the shooting of Brutus and his companion by the Taliban in such a callous, cruel and unnecessary way bodes ill for the pet dogs and street dogs in that broken country.
I’d like to see some of the rescued cats, please. I am beginning to believe that they don’t exist. Farthing also said that 5 cats had died of shock during the journey to the airport which points to the trauma of the experience for the animals and humans. It explains Mr Farthing’s rant to Peter Quentin in a voice mail message. He was fraught. We have to forgive him. He has apologised. Without his forceful and resourceful character, he wouldn’t have been so successful at saving the lives of animals.
MORE ON NOWZAD:
Live updates on Mr Farthing (Nowzad) getting out of Kabul with his approx. 200 animals as at 26 Aug. 8 PM GMT