‘I’m being left behind enemy lines’: Ex-Royal Marine Pen Farthing accuses the MoD of BLOCKING the Kabul evacuation flight he arranged for himself, staff and rescue animals
- Pen Farthing said he has been ‘left to fend for myself’ after ‘MoD blocked flight’
- He had privately funded a commercial flight but says he now can’t get on it
- He previously managed to get his 30-year-old wife Kaisa out of the country
An ex-Royal Marine has accused the Ministry of Defence of blocking an evacuation flight from Kabul that he organised for himself, his staff and his rescued animals.
Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing, 52, said he has been ‘left to fend for myself’ after the MoD allegedly stopped his privately rented plane from taking off.
He thought he would be evacuated from the country on a privately rented plane with his 25 Afghan staff as well as the charity’s dogs and cats. He announced the UK Government granted visas for all of his staff and their dependents.
But yesterday he said the evacuation flight had been ‘blocked’ and that he was ‘cut off’ from a Ministry of Defence (MoD) helpline.
Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing, 52, said he has been ‘left to fend for myself’ after the MoD allegedly stopped his privately rented plane from taking off
‘I served Queen and Country for 22 years, I served in Iraq and Afghanistan,’ Mr Farthing told Sky News.
He previously managed to get his 30-year-old wife Kaisa out of the country and shared a shocking image appearing to show her on a near-empty evacuation flight.
He said: ‘I can’t get into the airport because the MoD won’t talk to me. That is beyond the pale, somebody somewhere is playing with people’s lives.’
Mr Farthing goes on to describe the emotional rollercoaster he and his staff were forced to go through today.
He said: ‘You’ve not idea of the elation in our office this morning when our staff knew [they could come to the UK].’
He previously managed to get his 30-year-old wife Kaisa out of the country and shared a shocking image appearing to show her on a near-empty evacuation flight (pictured)
Outraged social media users have taken to Twitter to vent their frustrations at the Government’s alleged actions
But the joy his staff felt soon turned to despair after Mr Farthing said the Ministry of Defence refused to let his privately funded commercial plane land in the Kabul military airfield.
He said: ‘It’s a privately funded aircraft, I only want to take out 69 people and the cargo hold is empty so we’re going to put dogs and cats into it.
‘No taxpayer money will go into this. We’ve got 130 spare seats on that aircraft we can fill with people entitled to come to Britain.’
He went on to claim the reason his flight had been blocked is that the Ministry of Defence doesn’t want people to see animals getting on a flight.
While holding back tears he added: ‘I am behind enemy lines now, the Taliban are here. I cannot get into the airport because the MOD won’t talk to me. They’re playing with people’s lives.
‘I wasn’t frightened because I knew I had this lifeline but that’s just been cut off. I am now on my own here.
An RAF plane was filled to capacity with embassy staff, British nationals and any Afghans able to settle in the UK
Evacuations have been underway in Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the country on August 13 after American troops were pulled from the country
‘The very people that I was part of have cut me off. You have no idea of the emotion that’s going through me right now.’
Outraged social media users have taken to Twitter to vent their frustrations at the Government’s alleged actions.
One wrote: ‘Dear British Government, the eyes of the world are watching, not just those of the UK. It is absolutely essential this life saving flight goes ahead without delay and with all onboard (including animals). I would urge you to ensure everything is in place without delay.’
Thousands of Afghans could be left behind in Kabul as ministers push to extend the deadline for the last British evacuation flight beyond Tuesday. Pictured: British citizens catching a flight earlier this week
Taliban fighters stand guard on their side at a border crossing point between Pakistan and Afghanistan, in Torkham, in Khyber district, Pakistan
While another said: ‘Furious and feel sick. How can people be so evil!!! Boris Johnson GET THIS SORTED! I can’t believe we were all praising you this morning, we thought you were doing the right thing!!!!’
And another wrote: ‘This is horrendous. Heartbreaking. The UK government have failed in every aspect and I am so sorry to see it now affecting you and #nowzad. I am praying for you, your staff and animals to get back safely. Stay safe.’
The MoD refused to comment on Mr Farthing’s accusations last night.