An evacuation flight carrying more than 150 cats and dogs from Afghanistan arrived in the UK on Sunday, according to a media report. As reported by the Daily Mail, the chartered plane landed at London Heathrow in the morning. The Nawzad organization, which is behind what is known as Operation Astronomy, confirmed to the BBC that the animals managed to leave Afghanistan with its founder Paul (Penn) Farthing.
The former British soldier Farthing had previously campaigned to evacuate animals from an animal shelter he established in the Afghan capital, Kabul, in a day-long campaign. Farthing also wanted to fire his employees and their relatives. After initially hesitating, he secured the support of the British government, which, despite the difficult circumstances, promised a deadline for his chartered flight to sponsor and issue visas. But in the end, he had to travel without the staff.
The case sparked heated debate in the United Kingdom. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has complained in interviews that the discussion took too long and accused Nawzad’s supporters of putting his staff under pressure. The Times published an audio message on Sunday that claimed Farthing threatened a Defense Department adviser to “destroy” him on social media if he did not support him in his project.
In the British rescue operation from Afghanistan, which ended at the weekend, more than 15,000 people were evacuated, according to government information. However, with up to 1,000 local workers left behind due to time constraints, many Britons were indignant about evacuating pets.