Nowzad Afghan evacuation authorised by PM, leaked emails suggest

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson authorised the evacuation of staff working for the animal charity Nowzad in Afghanistan, leaked emails to MPs are suggesting.

This is despite Johnson claiming last month that it was “nonsense” that he had intervened to support the charity, which is run by former marine Pen Farthing, to move its operations out of the region last year at the time of the Taliban takeover.

But leaked emails released by the Foreign Affairs Committee this week say that “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”.

The email had been sent by an official in Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office minister Zac Goldsmith’s office and involves a conversation with a colleague about government support for a similar animal charity to Nowzad in Afghanistan at the time of the takeover.

Last summer Farthing had criticised UK politicians’ response to the crisis in the region as “a complete load of tosh”.

He said the situation at the time of the takeover, where people were unsuccessfully trying to flee the country, was a “fiasco beyond all fiascos”.

In a parliamentary debate last year Johnson said that he pledged to “do everything that we can to help” charity workers stranded in Afghanistan. He also said that he had been “lobbied extensively about the excellent work done by” Nowzad.

This week Nowzad announced that it is “rebuilding our operations in Afghanistan” through staff that “stayed behind”.

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