Nowzad’s staff and animals still outside Kabul airport: explosions, plane cancelled

A white and light brown dog looks into the camera.
Dog Tela at the shelter in Kabul, photo: Facebook page Nowzad

Pen Farthing, founder of animal charity Nowzad, and his team are still waiting to leave Kabul with around 200 animals in carriers outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport.

There were two explosions near the airport Thursday afternoon, killing at least thirteen people. Farthing told PA Media that he and his team are fine but that it’s chaos.

Farthing, his team and their animals have been at the airport since Wednesday night, after the UK Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, gave them permission to fly with their dog and cats.

Funded by donations, Nowzad was able to charter a private plane to fly all staff and animals out of Kabul. But the BBC reports that the plane that was leaving from London Luton Airport to pick them up had been cancelled.

“We have an option in place in a neighbouring country to lift Pen, his staff and animals out of Kabul before transferring them to the UK,” wildlife campaigner Dominic Dyer told the BBC.

But Farthing and his team need to be able to enter the airport before the plane can land. According to Wallace, it can take up to 24 hours before they can enter.

Farthing asked the Taliban for help Thursday morning. “Dear Sir, my team and my animals are stuck at airport circle. We have a flight waiting. Can you please facilitate safe passage into the airport for our convoy?” he tweeted.

“We are an NGO who will come back to Afghanistan but right now, I want to get everyone out safely,” Farthing asked Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban member of Negotiations Team, directly on Twitter.

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