Timeline: Pen Farthing escapes Afghanistan with 200 dogs and cats | TeamDogs
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Timeline: Pen Farthing escapes Afghanistan with 200 dogs and cats

His animal rescue operation has been under jeopardy – but he has finally boarded a plane with his 140 dogs and 60 cats

Paige Freshwater

Posted 51d ago

By Rebecca Astill

An animal lover has made the impossible happen after boarding a plane with 200 rescue dogs and cats.

Pen Farthing managed to escape Afghanistan with 140 dogs and 60 cats after being caught up in Thursday’s airport bomb blasts.

Refusing to give up on them, Farthing overcame every obstacle to get his animals to safety.

However, his Afghan team are yet to return home after selflessly telling Farthing to travel without them.

His rescue operation faced its fair share of criticism from people who claimed the evacuation of animals was being prioritised over people.

But Farthing strongly spoke out against this claim saying the animals were being kept in the hold leaving spare seats for refugees.

Here is the timeline of events so far:

August 15

The Taliban advanced the country and captured the capital Kabul.

Ricky Gervais, Dame Judy Dench and Peter Egan all call for Boris Johnson to help animal rescuers in Afghanistan, as part of the ‘Rescue the Animal Rescuers’ campaign.

Farthing launches a fundraiser called “Operation Ark” to rent a cargo plane and fly the Nowzad staff and animals out of Afghanistan.

August 17

Nowzad asks supporters to lobby Ministers to help the Nowzad team to allow them on a rescue flight.

Read more here: James Middleton shares adorable holiday snaps of his team of dogs

August 18

In the House of Commons, Boris Johnson said, “We will do everything we can to help Farthing without jeopardising our national security.”

Farthing launches a fundraiser called “Operation Ark” to rent a cargo plane and fly the Nowzad staff and animals out of Afghanistan.

A wealthy US businessman, Spencer Haber, founder and chairman of the H/3 Foundation makes a healthy donation to fund a cargo plane to ferry animals and staff out.

August 23

Boris Johnson backs Operation Ark and ensures visas for Nowzad staff.

August 24

Nowzad supporters confirm a privately chartered Airbus A330, funded by donations, was on standby to fly to Kabul and rescue the Nowzad workers and staff.

Farthing claims Ministry of Defence blocked his crowdfunded flight to fly animals back to the UK.

Read more here: Cockapoo brings new meaning to Great Escape after trying to break free from cage

August 25

Prime Minister intervenes overnight and tells Minister of Defence to allow

Farthing, staff and animals access to the airport.

Minister of Defence Ben Wallace says he will make space for Farthing’s plane, and if he turns up without the animals he can board an RAF plane.

Minister of Defence Ben Wallace tweets saying he had never blocked a flight and his only issue was with queue jumping the airport.

August 26

Farthing’s friend Dominic Dyer, a wildlife protection and animal welfare campaigner, confirms to Good Morning Britain he is boarding a flight from Luton this evening with plans to get into Kabul airport, with clearance from the Ministry of Defence.

Taliban soldiers blocked the convoy of Nowzad staff and animals in a 10 hour standoff before they managed to get through to the airport.

Two explosions at the Kabul airport kill at least 90 people following a warning from the foreign office. The Nowzad team are safe but the flight due to come in from Luton the next day is cancelled due to the danger.

August 27

Farthing boards a charter plane with 140 dogs and 60 cats. He had to leave his Afghan staff behind after they told him to travel without them.

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