foreign office emails appear to contradict downing street's insistence that boris johnson did not personally authorise the controversial rescue of cats and dogs from a british animal charity in afghanistan.

In December, Johnson dismissed claims he had intervened as "complete nonsense".

But new emails released by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into the government's handling of the Afghanistan crisis, suggest Mr Johnson did personally authorise rescue efforts for pets and animals.

On 25 August 2021, an official working for Foreign Office minister Lord Goldsmith sent an email to the Foreign Office "special cases" team regarding the possible evacuation of an unnamed animal charity.

"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."

This appears to support claims made last year in written evidence by whistleblower Raphael Marshall, a desk officer at the Foreign Office, that the department "received an instruction from the prime minister" to use "considerable capacity" to help animals leave the country that were being cared for by Nowzad, run by Paul "Pen" Farthing.

"What I can tell you is that Operation Pitting, to airlift 15,000 people out of Kabul in the way that we did over the summer, was one of the outstanding military achievements of the last 50 years or more.

Mr Farthing launched a campaign to get his staff and animals out of Afghanistan as the Taliban overran Kabul, using a plane funded through donations.

the uk government sponsored clearance for it, leading to allegations that animals had been prioritised over people in the rescue effort.

Asked about the new emails, the PM's official spokesman said : "It remains the case that the PM didn't instruct officials to take any particular course of action."

A No 10 spokesperson added : "The Prime Minister had no role in authorising individual evacuations from Afghanistan during Op PITTING, including Nowzad staff and animals.

"At no point did the prime minister instruct staff to take any particular course of action on Nowzad."

lord goldsmith tweeted : "i did not authorise and 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".

defence secretary ben wallace said "at no point were he or i directed by the prime minister to "evacuate pen farthing, his workforce or his pets".

"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 in a statement.

"The evacuation was a Ministry of Defence led operation, supported by application processing by the Home Office and FCDO.

he said the suggestion that lord goldsmith's private office, "had any authority or responsibility in the running of the evacuation is ludicrous".

However, Dominic Dyer, an animal rights campaigner who lobbied the prime minister to evacuate Pen Farthing and his animals, told Sky News that Boris Johnson "played a key role in the evacuation operaton".

Labour MP Chris Bryant, who objected to the move at the time, said the prime minister should come to the Commons and answer questions about the episode.

Labour's shadow defence secretary John Healey said : "Once again, the prime minister has been caught out lying about what he has been doing and deciding.

"he should never have given priority to flying animals out of afghanistan while afghans who worked for our armed forces were left behind." mr healey argued.

layla moran, the liberal democrats' foreign affairs spokesperson, said the "damning revelation shows that boris johnson has once again repeatedly lied to the british people".

"Boris Johnson's house of cards continues to come tumbling down.

He must immediately make a public statement to correct the record and for once tell the truth," she said.

boris johnson authorised the evacuation of 173 dogs and cats from afghanistan during the fall of kabul, according to emails leaked by a whistleblower.

The charity's founder, former Royal Marine Pen Farthing, denies these claims.

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.

The plane evacuating the animals was paid for by donations.

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".

"Boris Johnson is unable to make the serious decisions that are needed, at home and for our allies abroad.

The official's name is redacted.

Johnson, Downing Street and ministers have repeatedly denied the claims.

Labour said Johnson was not telling the truth.

In his evidence to the committee, Farthing said that "no HMG capacity was used to transport any animals", and “ no British soldiers ( or any nation for that matter ) were put at risk ” in helping him.

The Prime Minister claimed that he didn't intervene to authorise the evacuation of Nowzad animals and staff from Kabul.

The communication, which was sent by 25 August 2021 by a foreign office official at the height of the Kabul airlift, was released by the Commons foreign affairs committee on Wednesday.

"In this case people were fleeing in terror as the Taliban took over Kabul and British Forces were putting their lives at risk, the prime minister was once again prioritising the wrong things and making the wrong calls.

We need to know why the PM overruled the Defence Secretary with this decision."

Mr Bryant also raised a point of order in the Commons about the matter after Prime Minister's Questions.

We left Kabul on a privately chartered flight, there was no government involvement."

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