Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, I do recognise what a vitally important issue this is, and I am diligently actioning all individual casework raised by my constituents in relation to British and non-British nationals in Afghanistan. Please be assured that I will continue to take forward these specific cases with the utmost urgency.
It is also important to note that between 15 and 29 August, under Operation PITTING, the UK evacuated around 15,000 people from Afghanistan to the UK. That included more around 8,300 British nationals and their families; 5,000 Afghans and their families under the ARAP scheme who loyally served the UK; and about 500 special cases of particularly vulnerable Afghans and their families, including Chevening scholars, journalists, human rights defenders, campaigners for women’s rights, judges and many others. I pay tribute to all the military personnel and FCDO staff in Kabul, back home and around the world who made this extraordinary logistical feat possible. Their toil, courage and determination serve as an example for us all.
Mr Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing and the animals in his charity's care were airlifted from Kabul on 29 August on a privately chartered flight, facilitated by the Ministry of Defence. It is my understanding that the Prime Minister had no role in authorising individual evacuations from Afghanistan during Operation Pitting, including Nowzad staff and animals. As the Defence Secretary has confirmed, at no point did the Prime Minister instruct staff to take any particular course of action on Nowzad.
The Government has supported 3,400 people to leave Afghanistan, or to move from third countries to the UK, since the end of Operation PITTING – Nowzad’s Afghan staff among them. I commend the Government’s continuing efforts and will continue to engage with ministers to assist them in satisfying the important tasks at hand with regard to Afghanistan. Such as successfully delivering on the new Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, which promises to resettle 5,000 Afghan nationals to the UK in its first year and 20,000 in the long-term.