Pen Farthing left voicemail for defence aide saying 'I am going to destroy you' - reports

28 August 2021, 23:38 | Updated: 28 August 2021, 23:50

Pen Farthing's plane took off from Kabul on Saturday.
Pen Farthing's plane took off from Kabul on Saturday. Picture: Facebook

By Sophie Barnett

Former royal marine Pen Farthing who founded an animal shelter in Kabul left an expletive-laden message for Ben Wallace's adviser as he sought to place his staff and pets on a flight out of Afghanistan, according to reports.

In a leaked audio recording, that the Times newspaper said it had obtained, Paul "Pen" Farthing is said to be berating Peter Quentin, a special adviser to defence secretary Ben Wallace, who he accused of "blocking" efforts to arrange a flight.

In the recorded message, reportedly sent on Monday, Mr Farthing threatened to "destroy" Mr Quentin on social media if he did not help arrange the evacuation.

He said: "I just found out that is you blocking me getting this flight out of Afghanistan for my staff and the animals. So here's the deal buddy. You either get me that f****** Isaf number and you get me permission to get on to that f****** airfield, or tomorrow morning I'm going to turn on you and the whole f****** country, and everybody else who's invested in this rescue, is going to know it's you, you, blocking this f****** move. Alright?".

He continued: "I will get my staff out of here and I'll get so many other people out of here on this flight and then the dogs and cats are going in the cargo hold. Nobody can sit in the cargo hold, only the animals."

He said he had served for 22 years in the Royal Marines and he was "not taking this bollocks from people like you who are blocking me".

Read more: Pen Farthing's animal rescue charter jet arrives at Kabul airport

Read more: Final UK evacuation flight for Afghan nationals has left Kabul, MoD confirms

Mr Farthing's campaign to get workers and animals from the Nowzad shelter out of Afghanistan has caused controversy in recent days, after receiving a huge amount of public support.

His "Operation Ark" campaign became hugely successful on social media, but Defence Secretary Ben Wallace complained it was distracting those focusing on evacuating the most vulnerable.

Mr Wallace previously said MoD staff had faced abuse from Mr Farthing's supporters.

There is also said to be growing anger in Whitehall aimed at Mr Farthing with some accusing him of risking the safety of British service personnel and taking up valuable resource which could have led to more Afghans leaving the country

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that the group were ‘assisted through the system at Kabul airport by the UK Armed Forces’.

British soldiers helped load the animals on to a privately chartered plane on Friday night as they prepared to return to the UK.

Read more: Afghanistan: Last UK troops leave Kabul as PM pays tribute to 'heroic' British soldiers

Read more: Three British nationals including a child die in Kabul airport attack

Although visas were granted for his 24 staff and their dependents, Mr Farthing refused to leave without his pets and aimed to get 200 dogs and cats out of the country.

His wife confirmed on Saturday evening that Mr Farthing escaped Kabul with 200 cats and dogs - but has left his Afghan staff behind after they told him to go without them.

Previously, he and the defence secretary Ben Wallace entered a war of words over who was to blame for Mr Farthing, his Nowzad staff and the animals being unable to get a flight out of Afghanistan.

Tweets from the Ministry of Defence said: "Pen Farthing and his pets were assisted through the system at Kabul airport by the UK Armed Forces. They are currently being supported while he awaits transportation.

"On the direction of the Defence Secretary, clearance for their charter flight has been sponsored by the UK Government."

Previously, Mr Farthing said he was "turned away" into the aftermath of the explosion at Kabul airport.

Read more: Biden warns another attack at Kabul airport is 'highly likely in next 24 to 36 hours'

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He posted an update on his plight writing: “The whole team & dogs/cats were safely 300m inside the airport perimeter. We were turned away as Joe Biden had changed paperwork rules just 2 hours earlier.“Went through hell to get there & we were turned away into the chaos of those devastating explosions.”

Mr Farthing's friend and supporter Dominic Dyer said: "Peter Quentin is a political adviser working in the shadows of the MoD under the command of Ben Wallace.

"I believe he was instrumental in seeking to undermine support for Operation Ark across Whitehall despite this being a privately funded humanitarian mission with huge public and political support.

"Pen Farthing who was risking his life in Kabul to get his people and animals to Britain was completely justified in holding Mr Quentin to account for his actions and I think it's time Ben Wallace came clean on how this rogue advisor attempted to delay flight authorisation for operation arc into Kabul."

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment.