Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing and 79 cats and 94 dogs (no Nowzad staff) were evacuated from Kabul Airport at 4:30 PM Saturday 28th August. Please read on.
Update on Mr Farthing getting out of Kabul with his 200 animals as at 26 Aug. 8 PM GMT: Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing was near the suicide bomb blast. He and the animals are okay. He was trying to get into the airport at the time to embark onto a privately charters airbus. He said:
“We’re fine but everything is chaos here at the moment. All of a sudden we heard gunshots and our vehicle was targeted, had our driver not turned around he would have been shot in the head by a man with an AK-47. We’ve been in the airport, and back out of the airport; the whole thing’s a mess.”
Farthing has been stuck outside the airport. Reports are that 12 Americans have been killed in the twin blasts with at least 60 deaths in total and 140 wounded but these numbers will need updating for accuracy and in real time. The situation is extremely fluid.
So, the animals are not a plane yet and it seems to be increasingly unlikely that they will achieve their goal. The US has sealed the airport. There is no way to get in. Several countries have said the airlift is over.
This is desperate for Farthing and the animals. What about the Nowzad staff. Are they coming? It is unclear. The animals are overheating in cages in a vehicle. Farthing believes that they will die unless they are removed from the vehicle asap.
This is Peter Egan providing an update in a tweet. He is a big supporter of the charity as are other celebrities:
.@rickygervais @BorisJohnson @DominicRaab @pritipatel A horrible situation now for Pen & his inspiring team and his animals sweltering outside the airport gates. Come on U.K. govt get the gates open. @PenFarthing @Nowzad pic.twitter.com/sz4KGNYFFX
— Peter Egan (@PeterEgan6) August 26, 2021
Update Aug 27 at 10:30 AM GMT: Pen Farthing’s plane has not taken off yet. It is still on the tarmac at a Luton airport in the UK. The plane is not at Kabul.
He said that his mission to evacuate staff has been stopped by Biden’s change in policy. Taliban only allow people through checkpoints if they have a passport with a visa.
His friends are praying he can make this work. A friend, Dominic Dyer, had hoped to fly in the aircraft when it finally starts its journey to Kabul but the security issues had prevented this.
Farthing and the animals were blocked by the Taliban from entering the airport. He was trying to get on a military jet as an alternative way out.
He said that he was inside the perimeter at the time:
“The whole team & dogs/cats were safely 300m inside the airport perimeter. We were turned away as @JoeBiden had changed paperwork rules just 2 hours earlier.”
It is looking increasingly desperate.
41 minutes ago (as at 11:06 on Aug 27th) Sky News states that no one else will be let into the airport. Is this the end for Nowzad’s animals?
Further update: It looks like he is getting out. These tweets from the MOD appears to confirm this. I feel sure that Carrie Johnson had a hand in this. If so, well done Carrie. Fingers crossed they get out. The privately funded charter plane (not a military aircraft) was at Luton Airport the last time I checked. It had to fly to Kabul Airport. Let’s wait and hope that this pans out.
Final update as at 18:39 on 29th August: Mr Farthing finally made it to Heathrow, England in his chartered jet. He took a connecting flight to Oslo to meet his wife who had left Afghanistan about a week earlier. The animals are in quarantine at Heathrow or a facility nearby. They will stay there for four months. There were seats available on his flight for people and he put a call out via the British government to find people in Kabul who could use this flight. Apparently, none were available which runs entirely counter to what we are reading the news media about people being left behind.
His flight left Kabul, I believe, at around 4:30 PM yesterday and it went via Muscat and then on to Heathrow. Mr Farthing put a lot of pressure on the government to achieve his ends. I entirely support him but some people have criticised his threats to a defence minister, Peter Quentin, who he blamed for being obstructive when the pressure was on to get out of Kabul into the airport proper. I have a recording of that voicemail to Peter Quentin which you might like to hear by clicking on this link.
MORE ARTICLES ON NOWZAD:
- Nowzad animal rescue in Kabul may put to sleep 210 rescue animals including 60 cats as Taliban take control
- British government blocks evacuation of cats and dogs from Kabul to the UK
- Taliban likely to ban dogs but accept cats