Pictures of a Toyota Land Cruiser being evacuated from Afghanistan on a British military plane with asylum seekers elsewhere in the world have sparked controversy. The mass exodus from the Afghan capital, Kabul, is due to the Taliban’s return to power after 20 years, and the expectation that a new authoritarian regime may soon take place in the country.
As a result, images of the Land Cruiser on board have upset social media users, as the vehicle replaces people who need transportation to leave Kabul. The model appears alongside civilians and British soldiers on patrol.
Comedian Ricky Gervais was one of the people who used networks to criticize the situation. He wrote on his Twitter account: “Did they save a man from a car? Shame on you.”
Another online user also found the UK’s position absurd: “Does anyone else find it strange that the US could evacuate 16,000 people in 24 hours, but the UK’s best day so far was only 2,000? There are inflows only for the military side.” From Kabul Airport: UK and US The UK has 8 C17s, which are the same as the US The flight takes 3 hours to Doha (in Qatar, where it stops).
But since the photo was released, officials have insisted the Toyota was a diplomatic vehicle and that there was some empty space on the trip.
However, ex-military and animal rights activist Paul Farthing tried to organize with the British army a plan to move about 200 pets from the site to the UK, avoiding their sacrifices.
This initiative, dubbed Operation Astronomy, ended up receiving a red light from the government. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that while Farthing and his workforce were offered seats on the plane, he would not prioritize animals “above men, women and children in need.”
Activist Dominic Dyer even said on his Twitter account, “DoD sabotages Pen Farthing team, people and animal rescue mission in Kabul while returning cars in empty cargo planes. I have no words to explain the outrage at this national shame.”
The reason for moving the Land Cruiser is that the British government is trying to prevent the car from being used by Taliban forces in the future. The organization has a history of illegally procuring vehicles for military use, and leaving Toyota on site could be a risk as it is a modern model owned by the UK military.
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