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Animal lover Ricky Gervais has hit back at critics of an ongoing campaign to save animals in Afghanistan.
Operation Ark has been set up in the wake of the Taliban takeover in the country, with aims to fly around 200 cats and dogs out of the country to safety.
Paul 'Pen' Farthing, who founded Nowzad animal shelter in Kabul, launched a campaign to have all his staff and their families - as well as 140 dogs and 60 cats - safely evacuated from the country.
Speaking to Sky News yesterday (24 August), Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "[Farthing] could get through the gates as a British passport holder.
"He was called forward on Friday and I recommend he takes that.
"His workforce have been offered, as entitled personnel, places and they will be able to be called forward, but I can't guarantee in this window they will be processed onto aircraft, all I can say is they qualify.
"As for the animals that he was rescuing... it is just not going to be the case that I will prioritise them over the men, women and children we see in desperate need at the gate."
The Office star Gervais has been tweeting his support for the campaign, while also shooting down those who have criticised Operation Ark.
Posting on Twitter, the comedian said: "Urgent: @PenFarthing is brave and kind. Such honour should be rewarded.
"He's still trying to save others in the face of grave danger. He shouldn't be left behind. And they rescued a f***ing car? Shame. #OperationArk."
In a follow up post, he added: "Dear stupid c***s saying we shouldn't put animals before people.
"1. The animals go in the hold where people can't go.
"2. This is an extra, privately funded plane that will allow MORE people to be saved. #OperationArk."
Farthing has also hit back at claims he asked the Defence Secretary to 'prioritise' pets.
Speaking on Sky News, Farthing said: "Mr Wallace, I never asked you to prioritise pets over people. At not point have I ever said that, whatsoever.
"We got a flight and we've said, we will wait - you've just got to give us this call sign so we can actually get it in play, get the airline to actually start the flight plans and then we will sit quite happily and wait.
"We've got an aircraft that we need to put 69 people on, it's got capacity for 250 people.
"And in that cargo hold - it'll be empty. I can't park people in a cargo hold, but I can park my animals in that cargo hold."
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