Ex-Royal Marine veteran trapped in Kabul, Afghanistan pleads government to save his Animal Rescue Organization staff

A Royal Marine veteran, who founded an animal sanctuary in Kabul, has made an impassioned plea to the UK government to help his staff leave Afghanistan.

About the Plea

Paul “Pen” Farthing, who served with the Royal Marines as a commando in the Afghan province of Helmand in the mid-2000s, says that he will not leave his staff behind to suffer a fate that the West has put upon them. He said:

My charity organization, Nowzad, wants ministers to do the right thing by flying 71 people to the UK from Afghanistan now that the Taliban has seized the capital city.

According to reports, the Foreign Office is in contact with Farthing to offer help.

How did Paul Farthing set up the Charity?

Sources state that Farthing set up the charity organization 15 years ago to help increase awareness of animal welfare in the country and rescue stray dogs and abused donkeys.

It all started in 2006 when, while on deployment in Afghanistan, Pen Farthing and his troops broke up a fight between two dogs in the town of Nawzad – one of them followed him back.

The pair spent the next six months together, and Farthing gave him the name Nowzad after the town. At the end of his deployment, he sought to bring the dog back to the UK.

The move inspired him to reunite other servicemen and women with dogs and cats they had befriended while serving – and so the charity Nowzad was born.

Service Provided by the Animal Sanctuary

Currently, the charity Nowzad looks after more than 140 dogs and 40 cats and has reunited 1,600 soldiers with the dogs and cats they rescued and bonded with while serving in Afghanistan.

Paul Farthing’s book, One Dog at a Time, also helps promote and fund the sanctuary’s work.

Here are pictures of some of the dogs Paul Farthing’s charity has saved:

Fear takes over Paul Farthing as the Taliban take control

According to details, Paul Farthing’s clinic trained Afghanistan’s first fully-qualified female vets, but now he fears for their futures. In an interview with BBC News, he said:

I don’t think there are words to describe what they are feeling right now. What do you say to someone who will probably be told they will have to marry a Taliban fighter and end up living at home, never being allowed to leave, and just raising children with someone they absolutely detest?

Farthing continued to state:

The West should hang our heads in shame for what we have just done to this country. We gave people hope, aspirations, dreams for the future. In a matter of weeks, we have just ripped them from them. I am not hopeful the Taliban regime changed for the better.

He concluded the statement by saying:

For now, the eyes of the world are watching the Taliban. But in two months, the international community would be gone, the US would have left the airport, and no one would be watching – and if they did go back to their ways, no one would be coming to interfere in Afghanistan again. The British and US servicemen and women who died in Afghanistan – including two of my marines – had died “in vain”. We have achieved nothing now – we have just thrown everything away.

Farthing pleads the Government to make an Exception

In an emotional appeal, Paul Farthing pleaded for the government to make an exception for his Afghan staff, who will not fall under the two existing schemes for interpreters and British government workers.

A campaign regarding this matter is underway on social media.

Government and other Authorities take Note of the Plea

In a statement on Tuesday, the Foreign Office said:

We are in contact with Paul Farthing to offer assistance. The government’s top priority is to do all we can to deliver on our obligations to British nationals and those who have helped us and get them out as fast as we can.

Vice Adm Sir Ben Key, who is running the UK’s evacuation program in Afghanistan, said:

The UK hoped to help 6,000 to 7,000 British nationals and qualified Afghan staff to leave – but that figure was dependant on the security situation. Afghans considered eligible to resettle in the UK include workers for the British government, interpreters, cultural advisers, and embassy staff. Others eligible are those deemed to be at high and imminent risk.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab earlier said:

The UK was looking at a bespoke arrangement for Afghan refugees, with full details set out in due course. A new resettlement scheme will be aimed at helping those most in need – including women and girls – to come to the UK.

While the authorities seem determined to put Paul Farthing out of his misery, only time will tell whether they end up actually helping him or not.

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