By JILL LAWLESS
Aug. 29, 2021
LONDON (AP) — A former U.K. Royal Marine who waged a high-profile campaign to leave Afghanistan with almost 200 rescued dogs and cats has flown to safety — with the animals, but without his charity’s Afghan staff, who were left behind in Kabul.
A privately funded chartered plane carrying Paul “Pen” Farthing and his animals landed at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday after a saga that gripped and divided Britain, raising difficult questions about the relative value placed on human and animal lives.
Iain McGill, a veterinarian involved in the effort, said the animals appeared healthy and had been placed in quarantine.
Farthing, who started the Nowzad charity after serving with British forces in Afghanistan 15 years ago, was eligible for evacuation in Britain’s military airlift along with Afghan members of his staff and their dependents. But he refused to leave without the animals.
For days, Farthing used social media and press interviews to chronicle his attempts to depart with his four-legged companions amid the chaotic exodus from Kabul airport, as his supporters lobbied the British government for help with a rescue effort dubbed Operation Ark.
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