PEN Farthing says he “feels no joy, just feels guilty” after fleeing Afghanistan without his staff because he revealed that the Taliban stabbed one of his dogs.
The 52-year-old former Royal Marine and Founder of Newborn Dogs landed safely with his 173 dogs and cats on Sunday to reunite with his wife, Casa Marcus, before flying to Norway.
They were traveling from Kabul with about 200 animals, now they have to be quarantined under British law – although some can be kept down if they are found to be infected.
And as Qalam spends three days in quarantine in Oslo, he reveals his heartache, leaving behind his dedicated charity staff.
Pan told the Daily Mail: “I think I’ve cried more in the last five or six days than I did when I was four. I’m just numb.
“I think it will take a long time to get out of my head to say goodbye to the two crew members who drove me to the airport along the steep roads with people.”
Pan’s wife, Casa, was flown out of Afghanistan last week on an almost empty plane and finally arrived home on August 19.
She and a pregnant American friend had to cross a sea of men, women and children to get to the entrance.
But it took six days to get the paperwork right for the pen, and after a failed attempt to board an evacuation flight, it finally drove him out of Afghanistan over the weekend.
The pen pulled out 125 kg of dry pet food, 72 tonnes, 270 liters of water, 12 industrial-sized paper towels and 20 bottles of crates during a private rescue flight to disinfect.
But he said five cats died on a trip to Britain – and one dog was stabbed when the pen thinks it went to Kabul airport through Taliban checkpoints.
Annoyed by the staff he was forced to leave behind, Qalam said: “No joy, it was just a crime. He couldn’t get his staff out of the crime.
“The fault is that for some reason I could not convince the powers that be to give me the paperwork a few days ago. The crime is that I left them behind.”
I think I’ve cried more in the last five or six days than when I was four years old. I’m just insensitive to it.
He explained: “It was the staff who decided to give me a second try.
“Don’t stay. You’ve taken the dogs out. The Taliban will just shoot them,” he said.
“I paid them three months’ wages – which were safely removed – and an extra ڈالر 100.
“I said, ‘Put it in your pocket. Don’t spend it. I want to see it back in England. It’s your emergency money.’
“Then I went for a walk and hugged each of them, including the girls. Everyone was very emotional.”
Qalam allegedly accused Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace of “blocking” efforts to evacuate himself and his animals from Kabul and threatening to “destroy” them on social media. He also reiterated his apology.
He told the Daily Mail: “I apologize for the language I used, but that’s it.
“What’s on my radar is that this deliberate evacuation destroyed a country overnight and claimed countless lives.”
The last flight from Kabul landed on RAF Brize Norton on Sunday morning – ending the largest military withdrawal in 80 years.
The dramatic withdrawal of the pen has gripped the nation, especially as members of its Afghan staff and their families have been forced to stay behind the Taliban.
He was trying to get 69 people as well as animals out of the country when President Joe Biden “changed the policy” on who could get them out.
His convoy was 300 meters from Kabul airport when he was turned away by the Taliban on Thursday.
Moments later, at least 169 people – including 13 US soldiers, two British men and a third UK teenager – were killed in a deadly suicide bombing outside the airport.
As a British passport holder, the pen has always been at the forefront of evacuation.
However, he refused to go without his animals or staff.