Nowzad Charity issued the following statement today regarding the report from the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on the evacuation of Nowzad’s Afghan staff and roughly 160 shelter animals during its “Operation Ark” rescue mission from Kabul, Afghanistan in 2021.
“We are pleased that the Committee’s findings unequivocally corroborated Nowzad’s long-standing testimony that we were not prioritised for evacuation during the government’s withdrawal from Kabul nor did we seek special status or favour from government officials,” said Nowzad Founder Pen Farthing. “The report allows us to move on from this distraction and resume focus on our mission of restarting our animal welfare operation in Afghanistan and developing our humanitarian animal welfare response to the horrific Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
The Committee’s report, issued publicly on May 24, 2022, investigated if high-ranking government officials, acting on the orders of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, gave Nowzad special treatment amid the international withdrawal from Kabul. Nowzad made an “understandable campaign to evacuate its Afghan staff and its animals, attracting intense media interest. Its staff were not prioritised for evacuation,” the report said.
“We make no criticism of the organisation, its staff, or those who campaigned on its behalf: they were open about their case and objectives, which were in keeping with their stated priorities,” the report said.
Here is the full committee report:
During its Operation Ark mission, funded entirely by donations from Nowzad supporters, Nowzad facilitated the safe evacuation from Kabul to the UK of 67 staff members and their immediate family along with 68 cats and 94 dogs.