Pen Farthing says his animals were in the plane’s cargo hold
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After arriving in Oslo, Norway, after over a week fighting to get the workers and animals from the Nowzad shelter in Afghanistan, Pen Farthing spoke to Sean Fletcher and Charlotte Hawkins on Good Morning Britain. The former Royal Marine addressed criticism over his departure from Kabul airport, insisting he did not take up spaces for civilians with the animals from his shelter.
Mr Farthing hit back at the attacks, insisting: “Firstly let’s make this crystal clear as I’m sick to death of explaining this.
“There’s a cargo hold. You can’t put people in the cargo hold. The animals went into the cargo hold.
“The empty seats were above. No one in the British government facilitated by entry into the airport, I did that with the Taliban.”
Mr Farthing added there were “several empty seats” on the plane he departed Afghanistan on and he asked the British army if they needed to use them before take off.
“Sadly on that flight there was just me,” he explained. “I asked the British again, would you like to add some people on the flight?
“They assured me they has enough capacity. There were several empty seats on that flight out of there.”
Mr Farthing insisted he had to leave Afghanistan and it was “one of my hardest decisions” to leave his colleagues behind.
He explained: “I was going to put them in more danger by staying there.”
Fletcher went on to ask if he believed there was a “campaign to make you look bad?”
“No I think what it is the fact that this evacuation was forced on the British by the Americans,” Mr Farthing replied.
“People would have to be left behind. There were people on the street who have British passports.
“I could not get them into that airport, I tried. The Taliban only let me go because I was an obvious Westerner.
Mr Farthing continued: “There were no soldiers, no Americans able to deal with the Taliban.
“I understand people are upset and they are saying these kind of comments but they weren’t there.
“People always make comments on things they have no facts on.
“I am upset people were left behind but there was nothing I could do.”
Many of those watching at home were quick to take to Twitter to share their support with Mr Farthing.
One posted: “What a super man Such hard decisions for penn to make. Really no choice. Just had to do what he needed to do at the time. Amazing to save so many animals. In one rescue.”
“Thank you for allowing Pen Farthing give his side of the story,” another replied.
A third posted: “Pen Farthing is the most AMAZING man. The British Government failed him. They should be ashamed. I wish there were more honourable, caring guys like Pen around. I literally cried with relief for him and his rescued animals. Truly hope he can get his team out despite BoJo!”
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays on ITV at 6am.
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