‘I’m not leaving them behind’ Ex-marine made to put down dogs as Taliban close in

Afghanistan: Women protest against Taliban in Kabul

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As the Taliban approached the city, Former Royal Marines commando Pen Farthing pleaded for the animals to be saved. With the militants just “10 minutes away” from his position, he said he would have to put down the animals too old or injured to be taken with them.

Speaking from his base in Afghanistan, Pen said in a Facebook video: “This is it.

“Everything we have worked for over the last few years is over.”

Mr Farthing told PlymouthLive Taliban fighters were just “ten minutes away.”

The former Marine established the charity Nowzad, in 2007 to save street animals in Afghanistan.

Since its creation he has rehomed more than 1,700 animals through his charity work.

Under the Taliban’s previous hold of the country, dog ownership was banned meaning many healthy animals may be killed.

“There’s no other option and it breaks my heart,” said Mr Farthing.

“The Taliban banned dog ownership when in power last time, and it’s just too much of a risk.

“Never, ever did I want to put dogs to sleep.

“We are going to release some, but some of the older and more injured ones…..we can’t take them with us.”

The ex-Royal Marine set up ‘Operation Ark’ to get 25 Afghan staff and 200 of the charity’s animals out of the country.

Thousands of pounds were pledged to the scheme which aims to raise £145,600 to charter a cargo plane to travel back to the UK.

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He told the i “’I’m not leaving them behind. I’m terrified, everybody is absolutely terrified of what the future holds.”

He is pledging for the government to assist and ensure the charity’s staff reach the UK safely.

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