Tory MP's powerful take on Pen Farthing dog evacuation from Kabul

28 August 2021, 11:50 | Updated: 28 August 2021, 16:27

By Seán Hickey

'Why is a five year old worth less than your dog?' Tom Tugendhat asks in response to Pen Farthing evacuating 200 animals from Afghanistan.

As Western involvement in Afghanistan nears an end, attention surrounds ex-marine Pen Farthing and his attempts to evacuate 200 dogs and cats from the country.

Read More: Last UK flights leave Kabul today, with more than 1,000 Afghans left behind

"There's a lot of controversy and debate over whether this was the right thing or the wrong thing to do" Matt Frei put to Foreign Affairs Select Committee chair Tom Tugendhat.

He began by stating that the concern over aeroplane capacity isn't the real issue: "There's quite a lot of space on the aeroplanes, they're coming and going relatively easily.

Read More: Defence Secretary: Claims I blocked Operation Ark flights 'total myth'

"The difficulty is getting people into and out of the airport and we've just used a lot of troops to get in 200 dogs, meanwhile my interpreter's family are likely to be killed."

Read More: 'Dogs were given permission to be evacuated but not Afghan researchers'

"As one interpreter asked me a few days ago, 'why is my five year old worth less than your dog?'"

The anecdote moved Matt. He wondered how Mr Tugendhat replied, to which the Tory MP admitted he had no answer.

"You basically think these are resources – MOD resources – that should not have been used on the animals, they should have been focussed more on the people?" Matt wondered.

Mr Tugendhat used an analogy to share his view on the situation.

Read More: Hostage crisis fears as Afghan allies are left to the mercy of Taliban and Isis-K

"We've got an NHS in the United Kingdom that taxes us all about 1 in 7 pounds we spend," he began.

"What would you say if I sent an ambulance to save my dog rather than your mother?"