Nowzad boss slams MPs' response to Afghanistan 'fiasco' as fears for charity staff mount

The founder of animal welfare charity Nowzad, whose organisation’s 71 staff are trapped in Taliban controlled Afghanistan, has criticised MPs' response to the crisis as being “a complete load of tosh”.

Nowzad founder, former royal marine Pen Farthing, has made the comments from the charity’s base in Kabul, as the charity seeks to arrange safe passage for his staff out of the country, which was taken over by Taliban forces this week.

His comments were posted on a video on the charity’s Facebook page early today (19 August), just hours after the crisis in Afghanistan was debated by MPs in parliament.

He described the current situation, where his staff and thousands of Afghan nationals are unsuccessfully trying to reach Kabul airport to flee, as “a fiasco beyond all fiascos”.

“Britain, America now have a huge responsibility to get this sorted. And I’m not just on about the 71 staff members here of Nowzad, who by the way we have still had no contact from anybody in the British government about”.

This is despite the charity’s supporters raising enough funds for them to flee to the UK, he said.

Farthing added that a UN convey in armoured vehicles has not been able to get to the airport, “so how are women and children, young men, how are they going to get through that, walking on foot”.

“This is bigger than Nowzad, this is bigger than our 71 staff. The British and American governments have got to take responsibility. It is not rocket science,” said Farthing in his emotional video.

He then directly criticised MPs and the British government’s response in the UK parliament yesterday.

During the debate Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to “do everything that we can to help” charity workers stranded in Afghanistan.

The PM was responding to a question from Conservative MP for Hyndburn Sara Britcliffe about the plight of Nowzad veterinary staff “who now need safe passage back to the UK”.

Johnson confirmed during the debate that he has been “lobbied extensively about the excellent work done by” Farthing’s charity.

“I am well aware of his cause and all the wonderful things that he has done for animals in Afghanistan. I can tell my hon. Friend that we will do everything that we can to help Mr Pen Farthing and others who face particular difficulties, as he does—as I say, without in any way jeopardising our own national security.”

Yesterday Farthing on called on Johnson to give firm details of help his charity’s staff will receive.

In his latest video he described MPs debate as “a complete load of tosh” adding that “they have not got a clue” on how to solve the crisis.

“We need to get out of here, it’s as simple as that,” he said.

Earlier in the week Farthing released a video calling on the charity’s supporters to lobby politicians to ensure they are aware of the pressing need for action. Farthing said that the situation in Afghanistan was “an absolute nightmare” in his staff “are not safe here”. He reiterated this call in his latest video.

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