A FORMER Royal Marine has been given a glimmer of hope that his dogs and cats can be saved from Afghanistan on his charter mercy flight.
But who is the dog rescuer Pen Farthing?
Who is Pen Farthing?
Paul "Pen" Farthing is a former Royal Marines commando and founder of the Nowzad Dogs charity, which he found in 2007.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said officials would seek a runway slot for the plane chartered by Pen Farthing, 52, to evacuate him, his staff and their animals if they come to Kabul Airport.
If former Colour Sergeant Pen arrives at the airport without the animals he and his staff from the Nowzad shelter will be airlifted out on an RAF flight, Mr Wallace said.
Pen has been campaigning to fly out 94 dogs, 79 cats plus himself and 68 Afghan refugees from the charity’s animal shelter in Taliban-controlled Kabul.
It was revealed yesterday the UK government had granted visas for Pen's 68 rescue animal workers and their dependants.
What is Nowzad?
The Nowzad Dogs charity was created by Pen Farthing a former Royal Marines commando after rescuing a dog he called Nowzad whilst serving in the town of Nowzad in Afghanistan.
Why is Pen Farthing in Afghanistan?
Paul Farthing, known as Pen, founded the Nowzad shelter in Kabul after serving with the British Army in Afghanistan in the mid-2000s, with the organisation rescuing dogs, cats and donkeys.
Since the collapse of the Afghan government, he has campaigned to have his staff and their families as well as 140 dogs and 60 cats evacuated from the country in a plan he has dubbed Operation Ark.
What is Operation Ark?
Since the Taliban reclaimed control of Afghanistan earlier this month, Paul “Pen” Farthing has launched a fundraiser titled Operation Ark to transport staff and 200 animals (140 dogs, 60 cats) from his animal rescue organisation, Nowzad, in Kabul out of the country to the UK in a private plane.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has stated that, while Farthing and his workforce have been offered places on an airplane, he won’t be prioritising animals “over the men, women and children we see in desperate need of the gate”.
Who is Pen Farthing's wife Kaisa Markhus?
Kaisa is Norwegian and escaped with a pregnant American friend — who was not identified — while her husband stayed behind in Kabul, vowing not to leave until all 25 of his staff and their immediate families were given safe passage out of the troubled nation, the outlet said.
While there, Farthing has been campaigning for UK politicians to intervene in what he insists is a “humanitarian disaster.”
Markhus said she and her friend were nearly trampled to death on Tuesday as thousands stormed the airport, with soldiers firing warning shots in the air.
They also had to dodge Taliban troops outside, staying in a safe house each night before returning again each day to try to flee.
Do Pen Farthing and Kaisa Markhus have children?
It's not known.
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