Pen Farthing Rescues Nowzad Staff from Afghanistan

Image © Nowzad

Victory comes after he was forced to leave 68 staff and their family members behind last month.

Pen Farthing has managed to safely and successfully evacuate his animal shelter staff from unstable Afghanistan, weeks after he had to leave them behind whilst escaping along with 150 rescue animals.

When Afghanistan was claimed by the Taliban last month, a huge campaign began in support of British ex-serviceman, Pen Farthing, evacuating his rescue animals and staff in a mission that became known as ‘Operation Ark.’

The mission faced many set backs as rules were changed just before Farthing’s plane – which was privately commissioned – was due to depart, which meant the entire team and animals had to turn around to return their animal shelter compound.  His staff were prevented from boarding the charter aircraft by a Taliban commander as their visas had been provided too late.

Though Paul Farthing (known as ‘Pen’) desperately did not want to leave the country without his staff, who were said to be ‘terrified’ at the prospect of what could happen should the Taliban reach their compound, staff encouraged him to leave and take the animals with him whilst he had the opportunity.

After landing safely at Heathrow with the animals, Farther continued to push for the safe evacuation of his staff and their families. The staff are now safely in Pakistan, looked after by the British High Commission, and are due to be transferred to the UK in the coming days.

@PenFarthing Twitter


Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing formerly served in the British Military and set up the Nowzad animal shelter in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul. A former sergeant in the Marines, he rescued a dog from the Afghan town of Nawzad which he later named the dog – and his charity – after.

Founded in 2007, Nowzad says its aim is to : “To relieve the suffering of animals in Afghanistan; including companion animals, working equines, stray and abandoned dogs and cats and all other animals in need of care and attention, and to provide and maintain rescue, rehabilitation and education facilities.”

Posted by Claire Edwards 13 September 2021

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