Leaked email suggests PM authorised evacuation of Afghan animals
A leaked email that has surfaced suggests that the Prime Minister prioritized the evacuation of animals over humans during the fall of Kabul last year.
Despite numerous denials from the PM, emails leaked by an employee from the Foreign Office show lobbying for the evacuation of a second animal charity afer Boris Johnson agreed to evacuted Pen Farthing’s Nowzad charity.
Pen Farthing’s Nowzad charity operated an animal clinic, dog and cat shelter and donkey sanctuary in Afghanistan, training and employing Afghans.
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.
About 15,000 people were airlifted out of the country in August, including Mr Farthing and 150 animals.
His staff were left behind, but later made it safely to Pakistan.
The UK government sponsored clearance for the evacuation, sparking allegations that animals had been prioritised over people in the rescue effort.
The first email, sent between Foreign Office officials on 25 August 2021, states: “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”.
A second email, sent in the afternoon of the same day, repeats the point. “In light of the PM’s decision earlier today to evacuate the staff of the Nowzad animal charity, the [animal charity – name redacted] is asking for agreement to the entry of [details redacted] staff, all Afghan nationals.”
In December, Johnson dismissed claims he had intervened as “complete nonsense”, with Downing Street also releasing a statement claiming: “At no point did the prime minister intervene. We have always prioritised people over animals.”
Both emails were released by the foreign affairs select committee, which is conducting an inquiry into the withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer.
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