‘It’s a joke’: left-behind Afghans despair at dog rescue revelations
By SEAMLESS DAILY
27 January 2022
Afghans who worked for the British but were not able to get on flights out of Kabul said the revelation that Boris Johnson appears to have personally approved the evacuation of animals last August added to their pain and despair.
it's very painful," asif said.
Abdullah*, a British embassy security guard who worked for GardaWorld in a management role, said he remembered waiting at the airport gate beside vans full of dogs.
We really hope that the British government will prioritise us now."
Boris Johnson authorised the evacuation of animals from Afghanistan during the fall of Kabul, according to emails leaked by a whistleblower.
But an email from an official in minister Zac Goldsmith's office suggests he was personally involved.
It is one of a number of emails released by a select committee.
In the Foreign Office letter, the official writes : "Equivalent charity Nowzad, run by an ex-Royal Marine, has received a lot of publicity and the PM has just authorised their staff and animals to be evacuated, [ animal charity- name redacted ] are hoping to be treated in the same capacity".
The prime minister's official spokesman said : "It remains the case that the PM didn't instruct officials to take any particular course of action."
and lord goldsmith tweeted : "i did not authorise & do not support anything that would have put animals' lives ahead of peoples '.
He added that he "never discussed the Nowzad charity or their efforts to evacuate animals with the PM".
When the Taliban took control of Kabul, its supporters launched a campaign for evacuation, saying staff were in danger due to their work with foreign organisations and the animals were at risk.
An ally of Mr Farthing, animal rights activist Dominic Dyer, told the BBC he had contacted Mr Johnson's wife Carrie to ask the PM to speak to Defence Secretary Ben Wallace about ensuring Mr Farthing and his animals were evacuated.
His staff were left behind, but later made it safely to Pakistan.
The plane evacuating the animals was paid for by donations.
the uk government sponsored clearance for a charter flight, which sparked claims that animals had been prioritised over people in the rescue effort.
"Once again, the prime minister has been caught out lying about what he has been doing and deciding.
He told the BBC the evacuation of Kabul was "run under my authority and carried out by the UK military through the joint chief of operations".
"At no point were he or I directed by the prime minister to evacuate Pen Farthing, his workforce or his pets," the defence secretary said.
"As I made clear at the time, we were not going to put pets before people and as the actions showed, Pen Farthing left last and his workforce had to leave after the evacuation was concluded via other means."
he said the suggestion that lord goldsmith has been a joint defra and foreign office minister", would have had "any authority or responsibility in the running of the evacuation is ludicrous".
In his evidence to the committee, Farthing said that no UK military capacity was used.
The evidence published by the Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday shows Lord Goldsmith's official in the Foreign Office emailed colleagues working on the "special cases team Bronze", saying : "[ animal charity- name redacted ] are a [ details redacted ] animal charity operating in Kabul and seeking to evacuation their [ details redacted ] members of staff ( no animals ).
But Labour's shadow defence secretary John Healey said the leaked emails proved the prime minister had made misleading statements.
he should never have given priority to flying animals out of afghanistan while afghans who worked for our armed forces were left behind."
Ms Harrison admits she did tell staff she was PPS to the prime minister, but states Mr Johnson was not involved in any plans around evacuation.
"the pm had no role in authorising individual evacuations from afghanistan during operation pitting, including nowzad staff and animals.
Last December, the prime minister dismissed claims made by a former Foreign Office official that the government prioritised animals over people as "complete nonsense".
Johnson 'played key role in evacuation' Dominic Dyer, an animal welfare campaigner who worked with Pen Farthing, told Sky News the prime minister also got involved directly in the campaign to help evacuate Nowzad staff and animals on 25 August and this unblocked issues.
"There was a direct trade-off between transporting Nowzad's animals and evacuating British nationals and Afghan evacuees, including Afghans who had served with British soldiers," he said.
The same day Downing Street added : “ At no point did the prime minister intervene.
"You have an email which says, here is an instruction from the PM.
That doesn't mean it ’ s true : it shows that was what those officials thought was happening."
The emails were supplied by whistleblower Raphael Marshall, a former civil servant who had lifted the lid on the Foreign Office's chaotic handling of the crisis in stark written evidence to the committee in December.
Since the end of the evacuation, human rights groups and journalists have documented dozens of targeted killings in Afghanistan.
Many victims had asked for help to leave the country, or were in hiding hoping for rescue, including a women's rights activist, female police officers plus dozens linked to the former security forces.
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