Pen Farthing 'targeted by gunmen' during Kabul airport attack

26 August 2021, 15:48 | Updated: 26 August 2021, 19:59

Pen Farthing was targeted by gunmen, the ex-marine said
Pen Farthing was targeted by gunmen, the ex-marine said. Picture: LBC

By Will Taylor

Former marine Pen Farthing has said he was targeted by gunman in an attack at Kabul airport.

Mr Farthing, who runs the Nowzad animal shelter, said he was near the blast at Hamid Karzai International before his vehicle was assaulted by shooters.

The veteran was outside the airport as he tried to get out of the Taliban-run country with his staff and 200 dogs and cats.

Mr Farthing, who was in a car when the incident occurred, told the PA news agency: "We're fine but everything is chaos here at the moment.

"All of a sudden we heard gunshots and our vehicle was targeted, had our driver not turned around he would have been shot in the head by a man with an AK-47.

"We've been in the airport, and back out of the airport; the whole thing's a mess.

"There's not much more I can say at the moment, I need to make sure the animals and everyone is safe."

Read more: Explosion reported near Kabul airport amid fears of attack on evacuations

Read more: New Isis threat at Kabul airport as US tells citizens to avoid going unless instructed

Mr Farthing is an ex-marine and founder of animal charity Nowzad. He has had a high profile in recent days due to his campaign to have his staff and animals evacuated from Afghanistan.

He has been trying to get all staff from his animal welfare charity Nowzad and their families, as well as the animals, out of the country for days.

Mr Farthing had previously tweeted that he had been "left to fend for himself" by the British government, a claim which Defence Secretary Ben Wallace dismissed.

Yesterday, Mr Farthing reported that the government had given him permission to return to the UK with his staff and animals, but he has since claimed that the Taliban have prevented him from reaching the airport.

He tweeted at an official from the militant group this morning asking for the Taliban's cooperation in helping him reach his charter plane out of the country.

"My team & my animals are stuck at airport circle. We have a flight waiting. Can you please facilitate safe passage into the airport for our convoy?"

The shooting reported by Mr Farthing comes amidst reports of two explosions around Kabul airport; one at Barons hotel and one at Abbey Gate.

The BBC reported 60 people had been killed and 140 were wounded while the Associated Press said 11 US Marines and a US Navy medic were among the fatalities. There are not any reports of British personnel casualties as of yet.

US officials have confirmed that US personnel are among those injured. John Kirby tweeted: "We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties. We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate. We will continue to update."

It follows mounting fears of a terrorist attack throughout the day. Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey told LBC this morning that an attack was likely within "hours".