Pen Farthing and rescue animals awaiting flight from inside Kabul airport, Ministry of Defence says

A charity worker whose campaign to evacuate animals from Afghanistan has been closely followed across the world is being processed at Kabul airport and awaits a flight to safety.

Paul 'Pen' Farthing - who founded the Nowzad shelter in Kabul - aimed to get 200 dogs and cats out of the country, alongside animal shelter staff and a number of children.

The former Royal Marine, from Plymouth, said his team and animals had managed to reach Kabul Airport on Thursday, only to be “turned away” due to changes in paperwork rules made by the US some hours earlier.

On Friday evening, the Ministry of Defence tweeted: "Pen Farthing and his pets were assisted through the system at Kabul airport by the UK Armed Forces.

"They are currently being supported while he awaits transportation."

"On the direction of the Defence Secretary, clearance for their charter flight has been sponsored by the UK Government."

Earlier in the day, defence secretary Ben Wallace told LBC Mr Farthing's supporters have “taken up too much time” of senior commanders dealing with the humanitarian crisis.

Asked if the marine has been a diversion to the overall evacuation mission, Mr Wallace told LBC on Friday 27 August: “I don’t think I would say he personally has.

“I think some people have been feeding him all sorts of false narratives that if you’re alone in Kabul you’ll probably believe everything that somebody tells you back from the UK.

“I think it has taken up too much time of my senior commanders dealing with this issue when they should be focused on dealing with the humanitarian crisis.”