Afghanistan: Former Royal Marine Forced To Put Down Rescue Dogs As Taliban Closed In

Poppy Bilderbeck


Afghanistan: Former Royal Marine Forced To Put Down Rescue Dogs As Taliban Closed InNowzad

An ex-marine was forced to put his dogs down when the Taliban closed in on Afghanistan’s capital city, declaring in a heart-wrenching statement, ‘I’m not leaving them behind.’ 

Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing, a former Royal Marine commando, begged for his beloved animals to be saved, but due to the militant group being just ’10 minutes away’ from his location, Farthing resolved to put the animals down who were too old or injured to take with him.

He took to Facebook to post a video reacting to the impending occupation of the Taliban.

Farthing founded Nowzad, a charity in Devon that reunites dogs and cats with the troops who rescued them from warzones such as Afghanistan.

He started the charity in 2007 to help save street animals from the war-torn country. Farthing had arrived in the town of Nawzad in Helmand Province in November 2006, as a part of Kilo Company of 42 Commando Royal Marines.

During his time there, he ended up breaking up an organised dog fight and was ‘adopted’ by one of the dogs. Farthing brought the dog, now named ‘Nowzad’, back to Devon and subsequently founded the charity.

Farthing issued the video on Facebook as a desperate plea for help. The video shows Farthing at his base in Kabul, where  barking can be heard in the background. The former Royal Marines Commando can be heard saying, ‘This is it. Everything we have worked for over the last few years is over.’

Due to the impending presence of the Taliban, Farthing had to make the heartbreaking decision to have some of the older and injured dogs put down due to the militant group having ‘banned dog ownership when in power last time’. He went on to explain how there is ‘no other option’, and that it breaks his heart.

In the video, he went on to introduce some of his Afghan colleagues, due to fearing that they might be on camera for the last time.

Over the years, the charity has trained more than 500 veterinary students in Kabul. Farthing stated how the staff with him ‘are not safe’ and urged viewers to help ‘get them out’, saying that the only place they could go was now the UK.

In the video, Farthing called on the government to step in. He asked them to help the charity’s staff reach safety in the UK, refusing to leave the city himself until they are safe.

Farthing has subsequently created ‘Operation Ark’, which seeks to get 25 Afghan staff and 200 of the organisation’s animals out of the country. Since the video, thousands of pounds has since been pledged towards the mission, including money donated by celebrities such as comedian Ricky Gervais and actor Peter Egan.

Farthing called the Taliban’s occupation of Kabul ‘game over for us’. ‘There is no tomorrow for people of Afghanistan. This is it’, he continued.

Sat around animal crates piled high, ready to escort hundreds of dogs and cats to safety, Farthing went on to say how he had ‘always thought there was hope’ and that the ‘West was going to be there for Afghanistan’.

The ex-Royal Marine condemned the British government for its response to the chaos that has occurred over the past few days in Kabul, and said he is ‘ashamed to be British’ and how ‘we have absolutely destroyed the futures of so many Afghans’.

‘What the heck was the last 20 years for? We have just sent Afghanistan back to the 1990s,’ Farthing said.

He also noted how the last 48 hours had been ‘the most stressful and worrying’ of his whole life.

He said:

We are talking about 25 people and their immediate families. We are asking Boris Johnson to do the right thing and get these people out of Afghanistan.

As a former Royal Marines Commando I am probably in a little bit of trouble if the Taliban come calling, but I am staying here until I know these guys are safe. I am not leaving my staff to whatever the Taliban are going to do in the coming weeks.

Farthing has promised to get as many of the charity’s dogs out of Kabul as he can, and as soon as possible. The fundraising appeal needs a total sum of $200,000 to be able to charter the plane that could carry nearly 100 dogs and 100 cats.

You can donate to the appeal here.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Topics: Animals, Afghanistan, Charity, Dogs, Taliban


Express and 1 other
  1. Express

    ‘I’m not leaving them behind’ Ex-marine made to put down dogs as Taliban close in

  2. Plymouth Live

    Ex-Royal Marines Commando's emotional plea from Kabul as Taliban forces close in

Poppy Bilderbeck
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