UK will help evacuate ex-Marine, 200 Afghans and 150 animals

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The UK will help a former Royal Marine who set up an animal sanctuary in Afghanistan to get his staff, dogs and cats out of the country on a chartered plane.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says if Paul “Pen” Farthing arrives at Kabul airport with the animals, officials will “seek a slot for his plane”.

Vet Dr Iain McGill told the BBC that a private flight funded by donations is on standby to rescue the group after the mission was “green-lit” by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He says: “The important thing about this mission is that it’s a humanitarian mission. It is to rescue Pen Farthing, his 68 staff, and 130 other vulnerable Afghan people,” McGill said.

“It will also rescue over 150 cats and dogs, many of them belonging to UK servicemen and women. The important thing is that every seat on that plane will be filled on the flight back to the UK.”