Pen Farthing ‘so happy’ after animal rescue workers escape Afghanistan

Pen Farthing says he is happy his staff are out of Afghanistan. Credit: PA

Former Royal Marine Pen Farthing has said he is “so bloody happy” that his staff who worked at an animal shelter have made it out of Taliban-led Afghanistan.

Paul “Pen” Farthing, who was forced to leave his Afghan staff behind amid chaotic scenes in Kabul last month, described it as “absolutely mind-blowing” that they arrived in Pakistan on Saturday.

He tweeted that his Operation Ark campaign to get workers and animals from the Nowzad shelter in Kabul out of the country has been “a complete success”.

Mr Farthing said the Nowzad staff are “now safely in Islamabad and in the care of the British High Commission! I am so bloody happy right now!”

He said: “This is absolutely mind-blowing. It has still not really sunk in.”

Mr Farthing said he had seen pictures of the staff after their arrival and the smiles on their faces “just tells you everything you need to know.”

The Afghan staff had reared dozens of rescued animals by hand but were not able to leave during the hurried mass evacuation as foreign troops withdrew from the nation some two decades after US forces removed the militants from power in 2001.

Since arriving back in England at the end of August, Mr Farthing had been working to help evacuate 68 Nowzad animal shelter staff and family members, including 25 children and one newborn baby, from Afghanistan.

The Operation Ark campaign has caused controversy, despite receiving a huge amount of public support.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace complained some of Mr Farthing’s more militant supporters had “taken up too much time” of senior commanders.

Mr Farthing also apologised for leaving an expletive-laden message for a government aide as he was trying to carry out the evacuation.