Pen Farthing's plane lands in Afghanistan to rescue ex-Commando and dogs but his Afghan staff must stay with Taliban

A PLANE chartered to take Pen Farthing and almost 200 rescue animals to the UK has landed at the airport in Kabul, it's reported.

The former Commando and 173 dogs and cats will soon be in the air after a dramatic evacuation that has gripped the nation.

But Afghan members of staff and their families have been forced to stay behind.

Pen's departure will mark the end to a saga that ended with heartbreak earlier this week.

He had been attempting to get 69 people, as well as the animals, out of the country when President Joe Biden "changed policy" on who can evacuate.

His convoy was 300 metres inside the airport perimeter in Kabul when they were turned back by the Taliban.

Moments later, at least 169 people – including 13 US servicemen, two British men and the teenage child of a third UK national – were killed in a deadly suicide blast outside the airport.

Pen's courageous staff later told him to go without them.

He is thought to be the last British citizen to leave the city, even after the ambassador, Sir Laurie Bristow.

He told The Sun: “It is just so depressing I had to leave them behind."

And he said there were "lots of tears" as he walked away from them.

“I feel so many things," he said.

"I feel very sad for them [but] I’m relieved for me and I feel happy for the animals.”

Pen is due to fly to Tashkent and then on to the UK – where his animals will be quarantined until Christmas.

He packed 125kg of dry pet food, 72 tins, 270 litres of water, 12 industrial size rolls of paper towel and 20 bottles of disinfectant for mucking out the crates during the private rescue flight.

His evacuation – announced by the MoD on Friday evening – has been hailed by concerned Brits who have been following his multiple escape efforts on social media.

PLANE LANDS IN KABUL

And the drama has put huge pressure on British officials who were desperately trying to evacuate as many as possible before flights stopped today.

As a British passport holder, Pen has always been at the front of the queue for evacuation.

However, he had refused to leave without his animals or staff.

Defence Minister Ben Wallace has repeatedly told Brits he'll "prioritise people over pets".

And yesterday, Mr Wallace snapped at Pen's friend Dominic Dyer in a furious blast on Good Morning Britain.

Mr Dyer, who wept during the interview, was labelled an "armchair amateur" by the minister.

It happened after he described the British Government's efforts to rescue Pen as "appalling" – and said the evacuations have been "badly run".

1,000 LEFT BEHIND

But Mr Wallace said Pen was being "fed nonsense" by Mr Dyer – and his comments were "an insult to the men and women who have just carried out the most extraordinary evacuation."

Boris Johnson was also forced to deny claims he influenced attempts to rescue Pen and the animals – after Mr Dyer told Mail+ the PM's wife "most certainly" was involved.

Pen's wife Kaisa Markhus, 30 and of Norway, was evacuated out of Afghanistan on an almost empty plane and finally arrived home on August 19.

She and a pregnant American friend had to push their way through a sea of men, women and children to get to an access gate.

The final UK evacuation flight has now departed – with more than 1,000 desperate Afghan nationals left behind.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed this afternoon that the last flight exclusively for taking people out of the stricken country and into Britain has gone.

Experts have warned another terror attack is "likely".



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