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Prince Harry calls for veterans to support each other as Taliban takes over Afghanistan

By Zach Harper, with files from Heather Cichowski

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Prince Harry has called for veterans of the Afghanistan War to help each other and give each other support after the Taliban took the country in a lightning offensive earlier this week.

On Aug. 16, the Duke of Sussex, who is the patron of the Invictus Games – which he also helped found – released a joint statement with Lord Allen of Kensington CBE, the Chair of the Games, and Dominic Reid OBE, the Games' CEO.

"What's happening in Afghanistan resonates across the international Invictus community," the three wrote.

"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.

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

Harry served two tours in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2012 before founding Invictus in 2014. The event is an international sports meeting of wounded, injured or sick veterans and service members and allows them to use the power of sport to recover and make connections. It is next due to be held in The Hague, Netherlands in 2022.

This isn't the first time Harry has spoken out about what's been happening in Afghanistan. In June, an attack in Baghlan province killed 10 workers who were there supporting The HALO Trust, which works to de-mine conflict zones. It's not known which group was responsible for the attack. Harry has long supported The HALO Trust's work, and his late mother, Princess Diana, famously toured a field it was de-mining in Angola in 1997.

"These workers put their lives on the line every day to make the world a safer place," Harry said in a statement at the time. "This brutal act reminds us that we must stand in solidarity with humanitarian aid workers and the communities they serve."

On Aug. 17, Harry and Duchess Meghan expressed their heartbreak at what has happened in Afghanistan and also expressed shock over the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti over the weekend, killing at least 1,400 people and leaving thousands more homeless and injured.

Harry during his second tour of Afghanistan in 2012. Photo: © John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images

"The world is exceptionally fragile right now," the Sussexes wrote on their Archewell website. "As we all feel the many layers of pain due to the situation in Afghanistan, we are left speechless.

"As we all watch the growing humanitarian disaster in Haiti, and the threat of it worsening after last weekend's earthquake, we are heartbroken.

"And as we all witness the continuing global health crisis, exacerbated by new variants and constant misinformation, we are left scared."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex championed those who have global influence to "rapidly advance the humanitarian dialogues" at events, including the U.N. General Assembly and the G20 Leaders’ Summit that are coming this fall. They have also provided a list of resources, including links to places to support and mental health resources.

In Afghanistan, they are "offering support to the military community and the troops who served in Afghanistan, as well as to the Afghan people facing violence and terror."

For Haiti, Harry and Meghan are supporting their relief efforts with Archewell's partner World Central Kitchen, which is working with local organizations to help in the recovery efforts.

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