Pen Farthing

Afghanistan: Veteran Pen Farthing 'Targeted' By Gunman Amid Kabul Airport Explosions

Pen Farthing

A former Royal Marine who was close to the explosions near Kabul airport in Afghanistan has said his vehicle was "targeted" by a gunman amid the chaos.

The Pentagon has confirmed at least two explosions by the airport, with Press Secretary John Kirby saying in a tweet the first blast near the Abbey Gate of the airport had "resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties".

It followed warnings that a terror attack could be launched in the final phase of the evacuation effort, with British military personnel deployed to assist with the airlifts.

Paul Farthing, known as Pen, who founded the Nowzad animal shelter in the Afghan capital, is aiming to get 200 dogs and cats out of the country alongside his shelter staff.

Mr Farthing, who was outside the airport in a car when the explosions happened, 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," he added.

Mr Farthing has become well-known for his campaign to get his staff and rescue animals evacuated out of Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover.

Earlier, Mr Farthing pleaded with the Taliban for "safe passage into the airport" for his convoy of charity staff and animals, saying they were "stuck" at the "airport circle".

Following the blasts outside Kabul airport, a UK Government spokesperson said: "We are working urgently to establish what has happened and its impact on the ongoing evacuation effort.

"Our primary concern remains the safety of our personnel, British citizens and the citizens of Afghanistan.

"We are in close contact with our US and other NATO allies at an operational level on the immediate response to this incident."

If you or someone you know needs support at this time, you can find more information by visiting the British Army website and the Government's website.

Further details about support available can be found on the Forces News website.

Cover image: Paul 'Pen' Farthing.

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