These emails were made public as part of an investigation into the British government’s August withdrawal from Afghanistan by a committee of parliamentarians.
Emails released Wednesday morning by Britain’s Foreign Office show that Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, did approve a controversial evacuation of dogs and cats out of Afghanistan in August. This contradicts his dismissal of claims that he intervened for the safety of animals rather than fleeing the Taliban.
Johnson is currently embroiled in a scandal regarding allegations that Johnson attended parties during the coronavirus Pandemic. This is in violation of his own lockdown rules. Johnson has denied authorizing the airlift of 200 dogs-and-cats from Nowzad shelter in Afghanistan, which was run by a former British Royal Marine.
However, Johnson’s accusations of authorizing the flight continue to be made. A senior British opposition lawmaker published a December letter, sent in August by a top Johnson aide, that confirmed authorization for the animal evacuation.
Unnamed Foreign Office officials wrote that an email dated August 25 stated that staff from another animal charity, whose identity was redacted, should be considered for evacuation because “the PM has just authorized their [Nowzad] staff to be evacuated.”
The Foreign Office sent a second email the same day, asking for the same thing. It stated that the Prime Minister’s decision to nowzad vets had led the Foreign Secretary to consider including their dependents in the [details removed] request.”
These emails were made public as part of an investigation conducted by a British Parliamentary Committee into the government’s handling on its withdrawal from Afghanistan. Raphael Marshall (a whistleblower and former Foreign Office official) provided the correspondence. He has criticised the August evacuation as “arbitrary” and “disfunctional.”
Paul Farthing, Nowzad’s operator, launched a social media campaign to evacuate his charity’s staff members and animals. It was happening as the U.S. withdrawal deadline approached in August. Tens of thousands of Afghans were gathering daily at Kabul’s international Airport in desperate search of flights out of Afghanistan.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace criticised Farthing’s campaign. He said it had “taken too much time from my senior commanders” during the surge in humanitarian crises in Afghanistan. Farthing and his supporters lobbied Johnson and close associates.
Farthing was eventually cleared and a private plane landed in London on August 29 with him and his animals. Later, the charity’s Afghan staff found a way out of the Taliban.