We are thrilled to announce that Nowzad founder Pen, has actually been putting 'pen' to paper and the true story of Operation Ark will be published by Claret Press in July 2024!
Full details of how to pre-order will be available in April including how to get your hands on a signed copy!
Pen has this to say, "Finally I have confronted some demons and realised the time is right for me to write the true story of Operation Ark, and not the one that played out in the media. I am truly grateful to Claret Press who agreed to publish the true story that others were scared of doing".
From the back cover;
Pen Farthing had been living and working at the Nowzad charity’s small animal clinic in Afghanistan’s bustling capital city Kabul, on and off since the charity had started in 2007. Providing vital animal welfare to the street dogs, cats and working animals of Kabul, whilst fighting rabies with vaccinations drives and awareness campaigns, the charity also supported serving soldiers to be reunited with the dogs and cats they had adopted from the front lines of Afghanistan during their tour of duty. It was never a dull day.
And it had all started after Pen’s very own tour of duty with the Royal Marines during Herrick 5 in Helmand Province.
His determination to make a difference, even if just one dog at a time, had ensured he had never really left the country to be honest but outside the protective walls of any military base.
Pen was actually truly content and happy, his Norwegian wife by his side, along with their own dogs; Ragnar, Cora and Ewok, all rescued from the streets of Kabul, who were their constant canine companions amongst the many rescued animals now cared for at Nowzad.The charity was proud to employ the first ever female Afghan nationals as veterinarians side by side with female nationals working as support staff.
It had become a beacon of how Afghanistan was progressing as a society. Pen believed that his fellow soldiers who had sacrificed all in Afghanistan had done so for a just cause.
Young girls in their black outfits and perfectly white head scarfs, gaily heading into school laden down with text books, eager for an education, was all the proof he needed.
Afghanistan was winning. Slowly. But change takes time and sacrifice.
And then the events of August 2021 happened.
The US government decided to follow through on the Doha agreement made by former president Donald Trump, to abandon Afghanistan with little to no advance warning. The knock on effect meant the coalition of NATO countries had no choice but to leave too, as literally overnight, Joe Biden handed the country back to the Taliban. Twenty years of too many lost lives and billions of dollars wasted as the hopes and dreams of two generations of Afghans were shattered.
Operation Pitting saw the joint militaries of the UK and US encircle Kabul airport to evacuate their nationals. Pen was given a choice; leave on a British military evacuation flight and abandon his staff and animals or stay in a Taliban controlled city whilst attempting to convince the British Government to let him land a chartered flight into Kabul, to evacuate his staff in the passenger cabin with the animals in the cargo hold.
He had no idea if he could even source an aircraft or gain permission for his staff to be given refugees status for permission to enter the UK, let alone convince DEFRA that they should issue import licenses for the ninety four dogs and sixty eight cats currently at the Nowzad small animal shelter.
And all of this had to be achieved within fourteen days before Operation Pitting ended and the UK and US left Afghanistan for good.
Not for one moment did the former Royal Marine Commando contemplate leaving. He had a new mission. Pen called it Operation Ark.
Operation Ark the book will be the true story of what happened in Kabul to Pen, the Afghan staff and the animals of the Nowzad clinic as the Taliban retook to the streets of Kabul whilst the chaotic and completely unplanned withdrawal from Afghanistan left thousands of desperate people behind.
Released in July 2024 by Claret Press and you can register your interest in obtaining a signed copy here
Have you read 'One Dog at a Time' - Pen's first book that launched the charity? Available now from the Nowzad website or Amazon!