A former royal marine who founded an animal shelter in Afghanistan says his staff have been evacuated from the country – two weeks after he left Kabul with nearly 170 dogs and cats.
On Twitter, Paul “Pen” Farthing shared a picture of Nowzad workers in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, adding they are in the care of the British High Commission.
His staff, who reared dozens of rescued animals by hand, were not able to leave during the hurried mass evacuation from Kabul Airport last month.
Since Mr Farthing arrived back in England at the end of August, he has been working to help evacuate 68 people – including Nowzad staff and their family members. Among them are 25 children and one newborn baby.
“This is absolutely mind-blowing. It has still not really sunk in,” he said.
Mr Farthing’s campaign – known as Operation Ark – caused controversy, with the defence secretary claiming that it distracted from efforts to evacuate vulnerable people.
The former royal marine also apologised for leaving an expletive-laden message for a government aide as he was trying to carry out the evacuation.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “Pleased that Nowzad’s Afghan staff, who were called for evacuation, successfully crossed the border into Pakistan today. Our @ukinpakistan staff are assisting them and we look forward to welcoming them to the UK in the coming days.”
In other developments, Saturday saw the Taliban raise their flag over Afghanistan’s presidential palace.
The low-key ceremony took place as the US marked the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.