A FURIOUS minister has blasted a friend of an ex Marine trapped in Afghanistan as an “armchair amateur” during a furious clash on Good Morning Britain.
Dominic Dyer’s voice broke as he told of Pen Farthing’s attempt to leave Kabul with 69 Afghans and almost 200 dogs yesterday.
He described the British Government’s efforts to rescue Pen as “appalling” – and said the evacuations have been “badly run”.
But Defence Secretary Ben Wallace hit back in a rage when he was the next guest interviewed on the show.
He said Pen, who has been left behind in Kabul after UK officials stopped evacuation flights, was being “fed nonsense” by Mr Dyer.
And he blasted claims Mr Dyer made in previous interviews that the Ministry of Defence “blocked” a privately-funded flight.
“No one blocked flights,” he said.
“My officials and staff have been inundated with abusive conversations and emails.
“Pen was called forward [to be evacuated] last Friday, we encouraged him to do that. He said he wouldn’t without animals and staff.”
And he said Mr Dyer’s comments were “an insult to the men and women who have just carried out the most extraordinary evacuation.”
“It doesn’t help Pen to be told we blocked an aircraft. We didn’t,” he said.
“Imagine how he must have felt sitting in Kabul being told the British Government has somehow blocked an aircraft.”
He hailed the “extraordinary achievement” of troops – and said only “armchair amateurs” like Mr Dyer could accuse their efforts of being “appalling”.
Pen, who has been battling to evacuate his staff and almost 200 rescue animals, was forced to turn away from a flight yesterday.
He was told President Joe Biden has “changed policy” on who can leave – moments before suicide bombers murdered at least 103 people, including 13 US forces personnel.
And following the horrific blasts, the Ministry of Defence has announced this morning that no one else will be called for evacuation.
Only those already on the airfield will be allowed to board a flight.
But Pen, whose bid to save staff, cats and dogs has gripped the UK, isn’t at the airport.
Instead, he remains at the headquarters of his charity Nowzad.
Mr Wallace admitted that the chances of Pen making it out on an RAF plane are slim.
I don’t know what the chances are going to be right now for Pen
“If he makes his way and we can find him, we will try and put him on a flight,” he said.
“I don’t know what the chances are going to be right now for Pen.”
Mr Dyer told hosts Charlotte Hawkins and Alex Beresford: “We are all praying we can get him, his people and his animals home.”
And he said Pen would “never leave his people”.
“I can’t say how difficult this has been,” he said.
“This was always a humanitarian mission.”
Pen exclusively told The Sun this morning: “I am going to try again.”