The United Kingdom concluded its evacuation operation from Afghanistan on Saturday after the departure of a flight with his last soldiers in the country and said he regretted not being able to remove hundreds of Afghan collaborators.
One of the last civilians to leave Kabul was the British director of the Nowzad animal charity, Paul Farthing, whose campaign to evacuate 200 cats and dogs in a hired plane generated a strong controversy in the United Kingdom.
“We are relieved to confirm that Pen and Nowzad’s animals left Afghanistan in the afternoon and are safe.”, this organization wrote on Twitter, as reported by AFP.
That message is not currently available in the organization profile. The latest tweet that is accessed, published this Friday, indicates: “The team is safe but still in Afghanistan. We can’t believe what happened yesterday.”.
The tweet refers to one previously published by Farthing, who recounted details of Operation ArK. “All equipment and dogs / cats were safe within 300 meters of the airport perimeter. We were turned away because @JoeBiden @POTUS had changed the rules of paperwork just 2 hours before. We went through hell to get there and plunged into the chaos of those devastating explosions“.
Farthing’s insistence on removing his animals while many Afghans were left behind, including some Nowzad workers, was widely criticized in the UK.
The head of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, Tom Tugendhat, explained to LBC Radio that an Afghan translator who worked for the UK had asked him: “Why is my five year old son worth less than a dog?”.
In the midst of the controversy, the British Defense Ministry reported this Saturday that “a final flight transporting the personnel of the British Armed Forces has left Kabul,” a message accompanied by a photograph of some tired-looking soldiers boarding the plane.
Hours earlier, the UK had sent a final plane to evacuate civilians from Afghanistan, and spent its last efforts pulling out the remaining diplomatic and military personnel before the Aug. 31 deadline for the withdrawal of US troops.
Tasks accelerated after the attack on Thursday, which killed at least 180 people, including 13 US Marines. The attack was claimed by a local faction of the ISIS terror group.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked everyone who participated in the operation and stressed that in less than two weeks 15,000 people were evacuated.
“I want to thank all those involved and the thousands who have served there the last two decades,” he said in a message on social media.
UK Armed Forces Chief Gen. Nick Carter said the evacuation operation “went as smoothly as it could” but that it was “heartbreaking” not to have “been able to get everyone out”.
Carter estimated the number of eligible Afghans who had not been evacuated to be “in the hundreds.”
Defense Minister Ben Wallace previously estimated that between 800 and 1,100 Afghans eligible for relocation under the UK scheme They “failed” to get out.