Former British Navy operating pet shelter in Afghanistan seeks to evacuate staff and animals

LONDON: A former British Royal Navy commando who runs Afghanistan’s only dog ​​and cat shelter says he has only a week left before he runs out of pet food and pleads with the UK government for it help save him, his staff and 140 animals.
Pen Farthing started the Nowzad charity in 2007 to save stray animals in Afghanistan after adopting a street dog while serving in Helmand province.
Farthing, who lives in the UK, has been stranded in Kabul since March 2020 when he traveled there with supplies for the shelter and flights were halted due to the pandemic.
A fundraising campaign to pay for transporting animals in a cargo plane has exceeded its goal of $ 200,000, but there is no safe passage to the airport. He also won’t leave unless he can get all his Afghan staff and their families out, 71 Afghans. But they do not meet UK resettlement criteria.
“My problem isn’t the cargo plane, that’s the easy part. It’s getting into the airport. Until America and Britain get access to this airport, how Am I supposed to get 71 staff members through there, not to mention two trucks full of dogs and cats? My wife left and was nearly crushed to death, “he said.
“We had 140 dogs, 60 cats, 12 donkeys, a goat, two horses and a cow. We have started to put some of the older dogs to sleep now,” Farthing explained. “The dog shelter is on the outskirts of Kabul because of the noise. Our staff will not be going there during the day now because of the Taliban, especially since they are Hazaras and the Taliban are traditionally Pashtuns, so we had to consolidate the shelter here at the clinic and we don’t have room for all the dogs. ”
He has put 20 dogs back on the streets and plans to release or euthanize 20 more. His hope is to evacuate 80 dogs and 60 cats, except for two who will be euthanized. Farm animals will remain in Kabul.
Expats leaving Afghanistan have unloaded their pet dogs and cats at his shelter, as they are not allowed to take them on repatriation flights. “All the cats from the British Embassy, ​​some cats from the UN and a few individual entrepreneurs came here,” Farthing said.
Three of Farthing’s own rescue dogs, along with 35 dogs that were about to be sent to new homes in Britain, remain stranded in his shelter. horrible humanitarian crisis at the airport. I’m not leaving without my 24 employees and their families. They do not deserve the fate that is about to befall them. I’m afraid my vets will end up married to a Taliban fighter and have to stay home to have babies. They too are terrified. Their future has been taken from them.
Despite his desperate appeals, he has no news from the UK Foreign Office and the Taliban have now moved in next door. “We have enough food for the animals for a week. After that we have problems because all my money is in the bank and the banks have no money. I cannot bear to slaughter these animals. It would be absolutely horrible, ”he said.

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