Pen Farthing's animal rescue staff finally rescued from Afghan capital in huge operation


    Two weeks after the Afghan capital fell to the hands of the Taliban, the remaining 67 staff have been evacuated to Pakistan. Mr Farthing was one of the last to leave the country as part of the UK’s chaotic evacuation last month. Some staff members had been left behind amid a move to evacuate all the animals from the charity.

    On Saturday, the group reached the Pakistani border where the British High Commission in Islamabad took over the rest of their journey.

    The commission has also arranged accommodation for the group in the Pakistani capital.

    It was part of one of the largest UK-run evacuation missions.

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described his delight at securing the evacuation of the remaining staff and others to surrounding countries.

    He told The Daily Telegraph: “Following my visit to Pakistan and Qatar, alongside our wider regional diplomacy, we’ve got the cooperation in place to help Britons and their immediate family safely out of Afghanistan.

    “The conditions are still extremely challenging, but we’re getting our people home, direct from Kabul and via neighbouring countries, and I am also relieved that we’ve secured safe passage for Nowzad’s Afghan staff.”

    Mr Farthing expressed his joy that the remaining staff had now left the country.

    He then claimed Operation Ark, the process of securing the exit of his staff and animals, had been a complete success.

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    Over 20 British nationals also left Kabul and were flown to Qatar on Friday.

    Several others were also evacuated to Tajikistan where they were met by British officials.

    According to a translator who worked with UK forces, there are up to 400 Afghan special forces troops hiding in the country.

    Rafi Hottak, 35, worked with special forces and now lives in Birmingham.

    He is now compiling a list to hand to the UK Government in an effort to pressure ministers into facilitating a separate evacuation plan.

    One group, Commando Force 333, is believed to have been specially trained by UK forces and could be seen as a threat to the Taliban, Mr Hottak said.

    He told Sky News: “They’ve served the British government for 20 years, they deserve a life without fear of being killed.

    “These special forces were the frontline against all those terrorist groups.

    “Leaving them behind, I see it as a failure of the UK government, a betrayal of these brave soldiers.

    “They deserve to live a life of dignity and safety.”

    Asked on the commando force, he added: “The Taliban will look at them as a threat to their regime in the near future and then they will be hunted down and killed.”


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