Ex-Marine living next to Taliban wins fight to save 200 dogs and cats from Kabul

An ex-Royal Marine who has dedicated his life to saving animals in Afghanistan will fly them to safety in the UK.

Paul Farthing, better known as Pen, has been given a boost in his mission to have everyone at the Nowzad shelter in Kabul – both two and four-legged – evacuated.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has agreed an RAF flight will rescue Pen's team and their 200 dogs and cats if they can make it to Kabul's airport.

The news is a breakthrough for the charity after discussions with the UK government which previously looked bleak for its animals, SkyNews reports.

Writing for i News before the latest development, Pen revealed the threat posed to he and Nowzad by the Taliban is very real.

He said: "Obviously as someone who worked for the UK military every moment extra I stay here is very risky.

"The Taliban have moved into the house next door. We had a really hairy moment last week when 10 or 15 militants came to my door, but then appeared distracted and sped off in cars. My heart was pounding."

What Pen has dubbed Operation Ark now looks likely to happen, with Ben Wallace confirming his team will be put onto a chartered aircraft.

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The defence secretary tweeted on Wednesday morning: "Now that Pen Farthing's staff have been cleared to come forward under LOTR I have authorised MOD to facilitate their processing alongside all other eligible personnel at (Kabul airport).

"At that stage, if he arrives with his animals we will seek a slot for his plane.

"If he does not have his animals with him he and his staff can board an RAF flight. I have been consistent all along, ensuring those most at risk are processed first and that the limiting factor has been flow THROUGH to airside NOT airplane capacity."

Mr Farthing has previously said the 200 animals will not take up any human seats because they would be transported in the aircraft's hold.

He added that there would also be plenty of free spaces for more passengers after his team were seated aboard the 250 passenger plane.

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