Whistleblower’s claim of direct trade-off between animals and people evacuating Kabul is wrong

Raphael Marshall, a whistleblower in the Foreign Office (since resigned), claimed that there had been a direct trade-off between the evacuation of Mr Farthing and his animals and the evacuation of Afghans who were at risk. He’s basically saying that Mr Farthing’s animals prevented some Afghanis who had the right to be evacuated to Britain from getting on a plane and escaping. This was prioritizing animals over people according to him.

Raphael Marshall
Raphael Marshall. Photo in public domain.
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And it is completely untrue. I’m not just saying that because I support animals more than people. I don’t. They both had a claim to being evacuated. But the true story paints a different picture. It was, though, a chaotic picture and it is the chaos and the lack of proper management by the Foreign Office which has helped to paint this incorrect picture. One problem was that the civil servants and mandarins were on holiday. The former ambassador in Kabul returned from holiday 11 days into the evacuation and one day before its completion!

Dominic Dyer, a volunteer at Farthing’s charity Nowzad, and a campaigner to get the animals and staff out of Kabul in that chaotic evacuation, stated on LBC radio that the plane that flew the animals out was privately chartered through donations from supporters of Nowzad. The animals were placed in the hold of the aircraft. The seats were empty. The seats need not have been empty if the UK government had been better organised. They were available to be taken by people.

However, the offer was not taken up. Farthing and his team and the animals made two attempts to get into the airport. On the second attempt they succeeded when a British soldier let them in. They stayed in a hangar for 24 hours while the privately chartered aircraft flew from Karachi. American servicemen helped load the animals onto the aircraft. There was no support there from British troops.

And this is another reason why Raphael Marshall’s claims are incorrect. He said that British troops through the direct intervention of the Prime Minister assisted the animals in prioritising them over vulnerable Afghanis. This is incorrect.

Pen Farthing at Nowzad in Kabul
Pen Farthing at Nowzad in Kabul. Photo: Nowzad.

But it appears that it is correct that Boris Johnson had a direct say in the matter. Dominic Dyer also stated that he lobbied all the ministers of the UK government and that he knows Carrie Johnson, the PM’s wife. He says that he made his views and concerns very clear to Carrie Johnson and that “doubt she spoke to him”.

On LBC radio Dominic Dyer made it clear that he believes that through Carrie Johnson UK Prime Minister made a personal intervention in ensuring that the Nowzad animals and staff got out. As it happens some staff were left behind but they eventually got out via a different route later on.

All the animals were housed in rescue centres in the UK and will be or have been rehomed. It was a highly successful evacuation thanks to the heavily committed efforts of Mr Farthing and his supporter Dominic Dyer and other supporters. They deserved to get out. They did not occupy any space for people or interfere with the evacuation of people. American servicemen and women were taking their pets with them on American aircraft. No one is criticising the Americans for this.

The only minor argument that might be raised is that when the flight took off it occupied a takeoff slot for aircraft occupied by people but the airport as I understand it was not busy enough to support that argument. Therefore, it does not hold up to scrutiny.

Dog from Kabul imported by Mr Farthing with many other cats and dogs
Dog from Kabul imported by Mr Farthing with many other cats and dogs. This dog is at the Wales Ape & Monkey Sanctuary. Photo: by the sanctuary.

Pen Farthing is the founder of Nowzad and he managed it when it operated before the Taliban took over. I believe that it is still running but in an entirely different way as its purpose was to reunite, in American, the servicemen and women with the animals that they adopted as pets when station in Afghanistan.

P.S. Mr Johnson said claims that either he or his wife instructed the Foreign Office to evacuate Mr Farthing, his staff and animals were ‘complete nonsense’.

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1 thought on “Whistleblower’s claim of direct trade-off between animals and people evacuating Kabul is wrong”

  1. Lying is all the RWNJ’s have. Their objective is to anger people and cause hate and division. Fox New started Down Under, then they moved on to the UK and then the USA but Canada said no thank you Mr Murdock you don’t need your propaganda here. Fox targeted every big democratic country they could so they could destroy it. Pen begged them to bring people to his plane and the UK ignored him.

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