Paul “Pen” Farthing” is rescuing animals from the Taliban invasion in Kabul, Afghanistan. Here is everything you need to know on Operation Ark and how you can help.
Over the last month, we saw the Taliban take over of Afghanistan capital city, Kabul. We are finding out more and more everyday what this will mean for the people of Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan. So far, thousands have fled or are attempting to flee.
One former British Royal Marine named Paul “Pen” Farthing, is determined to rescue the animals from his sanctuary located in Kabul. Nowzad sanctuary for suffering animals in Afghanistan managed to fly out with 150 cats and dogs over the weekend. Unfortunately, many of the staff was not able to fly out with the animals.
What is Happening in Kabul?
Over the last month chaos has ensued throughout Kabul and Afghanistan. The Taliban’s rapid takeover and suicide bombing has left more than 180 people dead. This isn’t the first time the Taliban controlled the country either. From 1996 to 2001, the group reigned with brutality.
Many fear the fait of what will happen to Afghanistan, especially for the women and children. Women only recently gained the opportunity to drive cars and pursue careers as well as education. Many citizens panicked amidst the invasion, leaving all airports in complete madness.
At the beginning of the year, American and Taliban diplomats signed a peace agreement which saw to U.S. troops being withdrawn in order to stop Taliban attacks on Americans. Fast forward to this summer, the Taliban made rapid advancements which is now being blamed on America’s hasty pullout.
By the middle of August, President Ghani flees along with a number of officials. The group claims the “war is over” and that they have complete control of the country. It is said that over 400,000 Afghans have been displaced from their homes. Countries all over the world are working to help resettle refugees, women, children and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Who Is Nowzad?
Nowzad is an animal rescue and sanctuary for suffering animals in Afghanistan. It’s founder is former British Marine, Paul “pen” Farthing, came to Helmand Province to provide stability for the locals. However, soon he realized it wasn’t just the people who needed help but many of the stray animals.
First, they began breaking up dog fighting rings and working to reunite soldiers with all the dogs and cats that they rescue. It is supported by a veterinary team of 24 Afghan nationals which includes some of the very first female Afghan veterinarians. In addition to the dog and cat rescue, they also have a donkey sanctuary for the overworked and overburdened donkeys of Kabul.
Rescuing Animals From The Taliban
Farthing worked hard once the invasion began, organizing and chartering planes to fly out almost 200 cats and dogs. However, he was unable to provide evacuation for his staff. The plan now known as “Operation Ark”, ended on Sunday and is called a partial success. Unfortunately, some of the cats did not make it during the long trip.
Right now, they are working tirelessly to ensure there is a positive and safe conclusion for the staff of Nowzad. The former Marine said that his government abandoned him once the Taliban took over because he would not leave without his staff and animals.
Noawzad began a “Rescue The Animal Rescuers” campaign once it became clear that the Taliban was closing in on Kabul. The campaign aims to help by rescuing animals from the Taliban as well as the veterinarians, nurses, care staff and their families.
“We cannot leave these brave and compassionate people behind'”
Farthing took to social media where he gained support from celebrities like Ricky Gervais and Dame Judi Dench. Eventually, British authorities arranged a plane for Farthing, his staff and the animals. However, his team was caught in the chaos of the Kabul airport when a suicide bomber began an assault. The explosion killed more than 100 people including 13 U.S. service members.
Farthing appealed to the Taliban negotiator, but was not successful. The Taliban guards would not let Nowzad‘s Afghan staff enter the airport despite having papers permitting them to go to Britain. The animals that made it to Britain are now in quarantine where many are still up for adoption.
How To help rescue Animals from the Taliban
Both the animals and the people of Afghanistan need our help. It may seem like something far beyond our reach but there is plenty you can do to help the refugees and animals.
Many refugees are heading to different countries, including The United States. The Department of Defense activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program to help evacuate U.S. citizens, Special Immigrant Visa Applicants and at risk people from Afghanistan.
Additionally, there are several faith-based organizations looking to work with Afghans overseas and those arriving in the U.S.
- Bethany Christian Services – Supporting Afghan refugees by finding co-sponsors to help them settle once they arrive.
- Church World Services – Helps special immigrant visa recipients with financial support, transportations, food and in-kind housing support.
- HIAS – Assists the U.S. government resettle refugees.
Airbnb has launched a campaign to help, host and donate to the arriving refugees. They have been able to provide temporary stays for 20,000 Afghan refugees. However, they are looking for even more people to help assist every refugee that is arriving.
If you are looking to help rescue animals from the Taliban and what’s happening right now in Afghanistan, head to Nowzad for ways to help. The SPCA also offers a small animal rescue in Kabul. Donate, share and get involved.
What is happening right now in Afghanistan is a huge humanitarian crisis. Many of us have seen the videos of the airports and the desperation of people trying to flee. Now is the time to stand up and help in anyway you can. We all need to get involved by supporting Afghans and rescuing animals from the Taliban. Donating money, clothes, food and if possible shelter to those in need. It’s time to work together for both human and animal kind.Stay Connected