Prince Harry 'having second thoughts' on US move says expert
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Prince Harry, 36, is likely to be devastated by the news that the Taliban has recaptured control of Afghanistan less than two weeks after US and British troops withdrew from the country. The Duke of Sussex served in the British Army for 10 years and during that time was deployed to Afghanistan twice as part of Nato’s two-decade-long intervention in the country.
When was Prince Harry in Afghanistan?
Harry was first deployed to Afghanistan in December 2007 but it was kept secret from the world’s media.
Speaking about his time there, he said: “One minute you’re in bed asleep, six and a half minutes later you’re speaking to someone on the ground being shot at.”
Ten weeks into his first tour in Afghanistan, Harry’s presence there was exposed by an Australian news outlet and he was pulled out for his own safety.
At the time, Clarence House issued a statement that read: “Prince Harry is very proud to serve his country on operations alongside his fellow soldiers and to do the job he has been trained for.”
But this didn’t stop him from re-enrolling in the Army Air Corps and training to become a helicopter pilot so he could return to Helmand again.
In 2012, he returned to Afghanistan this time as a copilot gunner with the 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps.
His second tour lasted 20 weeks and he returned to the UK in January 2013.
Harry is often thought to have been most at home in the army and enjoyed the anonymity it afforded him.
In 2013, he said: “My father’s always trying to remind me about who I am, stuff like that, but it’s very easy to forget about who I am when I am in the army.”
Why did Prince Harry leave the army?
Prince Harry left the army in 2015 in order to dedicate himself to serving the Crown full time.
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A statement from Buckingham Palace a the time read: “Prince Harry is to leave the Armed Forces in June after ten years of full-time military service.
“The Prince has had a fulfilling military career and considers it a huge honour to have served his country in the Armed Forces, during which time he has undertaken two operational tours of duty in Afghanistan, qualified as an Apache Aircraft Commander and spearheaded the Invictus Games.”
In a personal statement about leaving the army behind, Harry said: “After a decade of service, moving on from the Army has been a really tough decision.
“I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the chance to do some very challenging jobs and have met many fantastic people in the process.”
He added: “From learning the hard way to stay onside with my Colour Sergeant at Sandhurst, to the incredible people I served with during two tours in Afghanistan – the experiences I have had over the last 10 years will stay with me for the rest of my life. For that, I will always be hugely grateful.
“Inevitably most good things come to an end and I am at a crossroads in my military career.
“Luckily for me, I will continue to wear the uniform and mix with fellow servicemen and women for the rest of my life, helping where I can, and making sure the next few Invictus Games are as amazing as the last.
“I am considering the options for the future and I am really excited about the possibilities. Spending time with the Australian Defence Force will be incredible and I know I will learn a lot.”
The Duke added: “I am also looking forward to coming back to London this summer to continue working at the Personnel Recovery Unit.
“So while I am finishing one part of my life, I am getting straight into a new chapter. I am really looking forward to it.”
Despite stepping down as a working royal in 2020, Harry continues to honour his ties to several military charities including the Invictus Games Foundation.
The Duke founded the Invictus Games for injured servicemen in 2014 and it is thought to be his most significant project as a working royal.
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