animal welfare charity serves desperate plea

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  • A charity is desperate to ensure a safe passage out of Afghanistan for its vets, staff and their families as the Taliban take control.

    Nowzad, founded by former Royal Marine Paul “Pen” Farthing, is a Kabul-based charity that works to improve the welfare and alleviate the suffering of animals in the country, by providing care for dogs , cats, horses and donkeys in need.

    “We have to get our team out of Afghanistan. I’m not leaving them here, ”Pen said, in videos shared on social media in which gunshots can be heard in the background.

    “We are not leaving them out. We have the power to make a difference for them.

    The Taliban seized power in the country amid the planned US troop withdrawal, taking control of all major cities within days. People are desperate to flee, with fears of repercussions and a return to brutal laws. Many fear that the Taliban’s grip will mean a return to the pre-2001 days of harsh rule, including the loss of women’s rights and harsh punishments.

    More than 450 British soldiers and 2,300 American soldiers have lost their lives in the country over the past 20 years. Brown University research puts the total number of human casualties in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2019 at 157,000, including more than 43,000 civilians.

    The UK is organizing the emergency evacuation of UK nationals and Afghan citizens who have worked for the UK government, as well as those it deems at high and imminent risk. Nowzad is pushing for its 25 employees and their immediate families – a total of 71 people – to be included on this list.

    “I’m not leaving my staff to what the Taliban are going to do in the coming weeks. We have to get them out, ”said Pen, adding that he will not leave until his staff are safe. “What I want to see and it’s a simple thing is every member of the Nowzad team here in Afghanistan on a repatriation flight to England so they are safe.”

    The charity has also launched an ‘ark operation’ to evacuate as many animals as possible, including chartering a cargo plane, at a cost of $ 200,000 (£ 145,621). But the reality is that some animals will not be able to fly, even if evacuation turns out to be an option. The team must have already started taking down those they know wouldn’t do well on the trip, to keep them from suffering when the charity is gone. The Taliban banned dog possession while in power, so leaving them behind would be “too risky” for everyone involved.

    “The staff here are not safe,” said Pen. “We have to get them out. We need to get all of our personnel out of Afghanistan. And the only place we can get them right now is the UK. “

    Nowzad has a lot of weapons. These include repatriating dogs and cats, both locally and abroad, including with soldiers who have bonded with animals while serving in the country.

    It has a treatment clinic, which employs Afghan national veterinarians to provide care to animals in need, and the organization assists in training more than 100 veterinary students each year, through a partnership with the University. Kabul veterinarian.

    It specializes in outreach work for equines and donkeys, promoting good property through education in equine welfare needs, employs a farrier and also houses a donkey sanctuary.

    “We can’t move the donkeys, so we’re trying to secure – and as you can imagine, it’s incredibly difficult – a new location closer to town,” said Pen. “We have Afghans [citizens], who are not related to Nowzad, who will take care of these donkeys. As donkeys are all over Afghanistan, they should be fine and we will continue to send money for their maintenance and welfare.

    Pen urges all his supporters to put pressure on top ministers and their deputies before the parliamentary recall on Wednesday (August 18).

    “They [our staff and families] facing the most horrible future that I would ever wish on anyone, ”he added.

    “What happened last week took us all in complete shock. I always thought there was hope.

    “This is the end of Nowzad as we know it. There is no tomorrow for Nowzad as an animal rescue and welfare organization [organisation] here in Afghanistan. Let’s go. But we still have our animals, we still have our staff, we still have work to do.

    “Everything we’ve worked for the last few years… that’s it. It’s finish. But our new mission now is to make sure these animals get to a safe place and start relocating some of them. “

    For more information and to donate, visit the Nowzad site.

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