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Prince Harry encourages vets to support one another amid Afghanistan crisis

The Duke of Sussex, who served two tours in Afghanistan, put out a statement to veterans amid the Taliban's takeover of the country.
/ Source: TODAY

Prince Harry sent a message of support to veterans in the wake of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

He spoke particularly to veterans and members of the military community involved in the Invictus Games, an international sporting event he founded for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.

"What's happening in Afghanistan resonates across the international Invictus community,” Harry said in a joint statement with the chair and the CEO of the Invictus Games Foundation.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, on Sunday, capping their takeover of the country. Afghan president Ashraf Ghani fled the country over the weekend, and there were chaotic scenes at Kabul’s airport as people tried to evacuate the city.

“Many of the participating nations and competitors in the Invictus Games family are bound by a shared experience of serving in Afghanistan over the past two decades, and for several years, we have competed alongside Invictus Games Team Afghanistan,” the prince’s statement continued.

“We encourage everybody across the Invictus network — and the wider military community — to reach out to each other and offer support for one another."

Prince Harry patrols the deserted town of Garmisir on January 2, 2008, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. John Stillwell / Anwar Hussein Collection via WireImage

Harry served in the British army for 10 years and served two tours in Afghanistan, rising to the rank of captain, according to the royal family's official website. He served as a forward air controller in Helmand province in 2008 and deployed a second time in 2012, serving as an Apache pilot and gunner.

He reflected on his dual roles of prince and soldier in a 2013 interview with The Guardian.

“My father's always trying to remind me about who I am and stuff like that,” he said. “But it's very easy to forget about who I am when I am in the army. Everyone's wearing the same uniform and doing the same kind of thing. I get on well with the lads and I enjoy my job. It really is as simple as that."

In 2012, Prince Harry showed a television crew his flight helmet as he made early morning checks on an Apache helicopter at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. John Stillwell / WPA Pool via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex issued another statement via their foundation, Archewell, commenting on the situation in Afghanistan as well as other ongoing crises around the world, including the recent earthquake in Haiti and the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The world is exceptionally fragile right now," the statement said. "As we all feel the many layers of pain due to the situation in Afghanistan, we are left speechless ...

"When any person or community suffers, a piece of each of us does so with them, whether we realize it or not," the statement continued. "And though we are not meant to live in a state of suffering, we, as a people, are being conditioned to accept it. It’s easy to find ourselves feeling powerless, but we can put our values into action — together."

The duke and duchess encouraged people to support organizations doing "critical work," and encouraged those in power to advance humanitarian dialogues at upcoming events including the U.N. General Assembly and the G20 Leaders' Summit.

The statement concluded, "as an international community, it is the decisions we make now — to alleviate suffering among those we know and those we may never meet — that will prove our humanity.”