Paul Farthing, known as Pen, founded the Nowzad Refuge in Kabul after serving in the British Army in Afghanistan in the mid-2000s, with the dog, cat and donkey rescue organization.
Since the collapse of the Afghan government, he has campaigned for his staff and their families as well as 140 dogs and 60 cats to be evacuated from the country under a plan he dubbed Operation Ark.
On Monday, Mr Farthing announced that the UK government had granted visas to all its staff and their dependents – a total of 68 people – but the evacuation of animals from the shelter remained a sticking point.
Ben Wallace had insisted that the animals should wait since UK to prioritize evacuation of people on RAF flights from Kabul.
On Tuesday, Nowzad supporters announced that a privately chartered Airbus A330 – funded by donations – was on standby to fly to Kabul to save the group’s workers and animals.
But Mr Wallace said it was still not a “magic wand”, insisting that the major problem with evacuations in Kabul was getting in and through the airport safely.
He said the chartered plane would only “block the airfield” and “sit there empty”, as treating the thousands of people trying to leave Kabul would be prioritized over air transport of animals.
However, in a series of tweets early Wednesday, Mr Wallace said that if Mr Farthing arrived at the airport with his staff and animals, authorities would allow them to leave on the chartered plane.
“Now that Pen Farthing personnel have been cleared to come forward under LOTR, I have authorized the MOD to facilitate their processing alongside any other eligible personnel at (Kabul airport). At this point, if he arrives with his animals, we’ll look for a slot for his plane, ”Mr. Wallace tweeted.
“If he doesn’t have his animals with him, he and his staff can board an RAF flight. I have been consistent throughout, making sure that those most at risk are dealt with first and that the limiting factor has been the flow to the airside NOT the capacity of the aircraft. ”
Mr Farthing previously said the animals would be transported in the hold of the aircraft and once his staff had been accommodated, all available seats on the aircraft could be occupied by other persons authorized to pass by. UK authorities, the flight carrying a total of 250 passengers. .
“The hold is empty – we put the dogs and cats in it !!” And 250 people above in the cabin! Mr. Farthing tweeted.
Earlier, a supporter of Nowzad in the UK, veterinarian Dr Iain McGill, had said people were ready to welcome the animals once brought to Britain.