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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle break silence on Afghanistan to say they are ‘speechless’


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have said the situation in Afghanistan has left them ‘speechless’ and ‘heartbroken’ in a wide-ranging statement that also addresses the Covid-19 crisis and the humanitarian disaster in Haiti. 

The lengthy statement, released via the couple’s slick Archewell Foundation website, calls on followers to support organisations including the World Central Kitchen, but failed to say how much they would be personally donating or details of how they will help. 

It adds that they hope to ‘support to the military community and the troops who served in Afghanistan, as well as to the Afghan people facing violence and terror’.

It comes a day after the Duke of Sussex, 36, who spent 10 years in the British Army and performed two frontline tours of Afghanistan, released a statement via the Invictus Games Foundation to urge veterans to ‘reach out to each other and offer support’. 

But the couple have been slammed by social media users who branded the statement ‘vague’ and said it doesn’t mention how they personally will be helping in the crisis. 

Others called it ‘publicity seeking word salad’ and branded them ‘irrelevant’ on the matter. 

‘Harry and Meghan have released a statement on Afghanistan calling on the public to support charities working in the region. 

‘Although they do not mention how they will be helping… Perhaps they will give Afghans 40 minute mentoring sessions,’ one wrote, referring to the Duchess of Sussex 40 x 40 initiative,’ one Twitter user wrote.

Amid scenes of frightened Afghans trying to flee a return to brutal Islamist theocracy after the Taliban captured the capital city Kabul, Harry and Meghan’s statement says: ‘The world is exceptionally fragile right now. As we all feel the many layers of pain due to the situation in Afghanistan, we are left speechless. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have broken their silence on the situation in Afghanistan to say they are ‘speechless’

Prince Harry spent 10 years in the British Army and performed two frontline tours of Afghanistan as a air controller with the Blues and Royals on the frontline in Helmand province, and as an Apache attack helicopter pilot during the two-decade Western intervention. Known as Captain Wales in the army, he is pictured in 2012 in  Camp Bastion

Prince Harry spent 10 years in the British Army and performed two frontline tours of Afghanistan as a air controller with the Blues and Royals on the frontline in Helmand province, and as an Apache attack helicopter pilot during the two-decade Western intervention. Known as Captain Wales in the army, he is pictured in 2012 in  Camp Bastion

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

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

‘When any person or community suffers, a piece of each of us does so with them, whether we realize it or not. 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.

‘To start, we encourage you to join us in supporting a number of organizations doing critical work. We also urge those in positions of global influence to rapidly advance the humanitarian dialogues that are expected to take place this fall at multilateral gatherings such as the U.N. General Assembly and the G20 Leaders’ Summit.

Meghan and Harry are pictured on their AppleTV series earlier this year. Last year, he and Meghan were accused of wading into the US election when they urged voters to 'reject hate speech' in a message that was widely interpreted as an attack on Donald Trump and tacit support for Joe Biden's campaign

Meghan and Harry are pictured on their AppleTV series earlier this year. Last year, he and Meghan were accused of wading into the US election when they urged voters to ‘reject hate speech’ in a message that was widely interpreted as an attack on Donald Trump and tacit support for Joe Biden’s campaign

Harry and Meghan’s statement on Afghanistan in full 

A Message from The Duke and Duchess of Sussex:

‘The world is exceptionally fragile right now.

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 left heartbroken.

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

When any person or community suffers, a piece of each of us does so with them, whether we realize it or not. 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.

To start, we encourage you to join us in supporting a number of organizations doing critical work. We also urge those in positions of global influence to rapidly advance the humanitarian dialogues that are expected to take place this fall at multilateral gatherings such as the U.N. General Assembly and the G20 Leaders’ Summit.

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.’

– THE DUKE & DUCHESS OF SUSSEX

The Archewell Commitment 

Like many of you, we are closely watching the crises happening across the world right now, and we are heartbroken. Archewell is committed to putting our values into action, and we hope to do what we can to meet the moment by offering support to the military community and the troops who served in Afghanistan, as well as to the Afghan people facing violence and terror.

We are also supporting the emergency response in Haiti with our partner World Central Kitchen, which is working with local organizations that are helping with recovery efforts to save lives and preserve the health of those on the ground.

Finally, against this backdrop, we are acutely aware that the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant has jeopardized the health and safety of families around the world. We are working to support vaccine equity through our commitment to combating the spread of misinformation, as well as our ongoing partnerships with Vax Live and Global Citizen.

We recognize that many of you may feel helpless right now as you watch the state of the world spin rapidly. It can feel disorienting and defeating, but we have faith in the power of shared purpose, action, and commitment to our collective well-being.

Below, please find resources where you can learn about how to help those affected by these global emergencies. You’ll also find resources for your own mental health, which we hope you’ll use as you navigate whatever comes up for you during this critical time. Take care of yourselves, and let’s keep taking care of each other.

Thank you,The Archewell Team

Ways to Help

WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN

Join us in supporting World Central Kitchen’s efforts to provide meals to people impacted by the earthquake in Haiti.

WOMEN FOR AFGHAN WOMEN

Donate to provide safe shelter, resources and aid to displaced women and children in Afghanistan.

AFGHANAID

Help provide urgent, life-saving assistance to men, women and children who have been affected by the conflict in Afghanistan.

MERCY CORPS

Support on-the-ground efforts delivering immediate humanitarian aid to Haitian communities.

INVICTUS

Support the work that Invictus Games Foundation is doing to inspire recovery and support for wounded veterans.

Mental Health Resources

NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS

Find mental health resources and support systems near you by tapping into the largest mental health organization in the United States.

THE LOVELAND FOUNDATION

Support resources and financial assistance for women of color seeking mental health services, or sign up for support yourself.

PROJECT HEALTHY MINDS

Ask for help, or support work being done to eliminate barriers that prevent people from getting the mental health resources they need.

 

 

‘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.’  

A second section, signed from ‘The Archewell team’ and titled the ‘Archewell commitment’ adds: ‘Like many of you, we are closely watching the crises happening across the world right now, and we are heartbroken. 

‘Archewell is committed to putting our values into action, and we hope to do what we can to meet the moment by offering support to the military community and the troops who served in Afghanistan, as well as to the Afghan people facing violence and terror’.

‘We are also supporting the emergency response in Haiti with our partner World Central Kitchen, which is working with local organizations that are helping with recovery efforts to save lives and preserve the health of those on the ground.

‘Finally, against this backdrop, we are acutely aware that the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant has jeopardized the health and safety of families around the world. 

‘We are working to support vaccine equity through our commitment to combating the spread of misinformation, as well as our ongoing partnerships with Vax Live and Global Citizen.

‘We recognize that many of you may feel helpless right now as you watch the state of the world spin rapidly. It can feel disorienting and defeating, but we have faith in the power of shared purpose, action, and commitment to our collective well-being’.

It then adds a list of charities to help those affected in Afghanistan and Haiti – as well as ‘resources for your own mental health, which we hope you’ll use as you navigate whatever comes up for you during this critical time’.  

It ends: ‘Take care of yourselves, and let’s keep taking care of each other. Thank you, The Archewell Team’. 

Many social media users questioned the statement, with one writing: ‘More publicity seeking word salad from Meghan and Harry.

Another wrote: ‘ What does Meghan know about Afghanistan? Unless Prince Harry told her bedtime stories from his experience,’.

A third added: ‘Is there nothing that those two won’t cling to, to try and find relevance?’

Yesterday, Prince Harry issued a statement saying he and other Afghanistan War veterans should ‘reach out to each other and offer support’ as he described the scenes from Kabul as ones that ‘resonate’ in a message to his charity for wounded veterans. 

In his statement from the charity he did not offer any views on Joe Biden’s decision to abandon the Afghans he fought alongside, or the chaotic execution of the withdrawal that saw the Taliban re-take the country in days following 20 years of war.

Last year, he and Meghan, 40, were accused of wading into the US election when they urged voters to ‘reject hate speech’ in a message that was widely interpreted as an attack on Donald Trump and tacit support for Joe Biden’s campaign.

Harry has known President Biden and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, for several years, and both have been publicly supportive of the duke’s Invictus Games.  

Kabul airport will reopen on Tuesday, US officials have vowed, as extra security is drafted in to manage the evacuation of thousands of foreign nationals and Afghans trying to escape Taliban rule amid mounting fears that Islamic State could commit a terror atrocity in the country.

The President defended the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, two decades after NATO forces invaded the country and toppled the Taliban regime following the September 11, 2001 attacks, as he blamed Donald Trump and the Afghan security services for the anarchy engulfing the country.

Speaking from the White House, Biden – who had returned from his ‘vacation’ at Camp David – told the American nation that the Taliban’s astonishing sweep to power and seizure of the capital city Kabul this month had happened ‘more quickly’ than he had anticipated.

His address came as Americans woke up to images of terrified Afghans plummeting from the engines of an airborne US Air Force C-17 jet above Hamid Karzai International Airport, as hundreds of other desperate locals attempted to escape the theocratic rule of the Taliban.

The airport was forced to close and evacuation flights halted after at least eight people were killed, including two shot dead by US troops, three run over by taxiing planes and the three who fell hundreds of feet.

But in a push to secure the airport, Britain and the US deployed another 200 and 1,000 soldiers respectively on Monday. The deployments take the totals to around 900 and 6,000 respectively, with many troops expected to be on patrols to help keeping the capital’s airport safe.

It is understood there are growing Anglo-US concerns that Islamists could exploit security lapses at the airport with suicide bombings – with the risk of an attack by the Khorasan Province wing of Islamic State great enough for it to be discussed at Monday’s emergency Cobra meeting in Downing Street.

The issue has also been raised in Ministry of Defence planning meetings, the Telegraph reported.

Speaking about the clashes at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday, one defence source told the paper: ‘If you are in the Pentagon or the MoD you are looking at the scenes and thinking: ‘That is a tragic loss of life, but what if that was an IS-KP suicide bomber?’ 

Amid scenes of frightened Afghans trying to flee a return to brutal Islamist theocracy after the Taliban captured the capital city Kabul, Harry and senior figures from the Games said: 'What's happening in Afghanistan resonates across the international Invictus community'

Amid scenes of frightened Afghans trying to flee a return to brutal Islamist theocracy after the Taliban captured the capital city Kabul, Harry and senior figures from the Games said: ‘What’s happening in Afghanistan resonates across the international Invictus community’ 

Prince Harry is pictured in 2008 arriving in the UK after returning from active service in  Afghanistan

Prince Harry is pictured in 2008 arriving in the UK after returning from active service in  Afghanistan

Three stowaways fell hundreds of feet to their deaths after climbing onto the fuselage of a departing US Air Force C-17 plane as it took off from at Hamid Karzai International Airport, while hundreds of other desperate people tried to cling onto planes as they taxied down the runway.

Senior US military officials said troops shot and killed two armed Afghans among those trying to get onto the jet while US citizens were evacuated in two separate incidents. A further three people were caught under plane wheels amid scenes of anarchy as the country slips into Taliban control.

A Pentagon official said that US troops had come under fire at the airfield and grounded all flights while soldiers cleared the airfield with Apache helicopters and fired ‘warning shots’ to disperse the crowds. Flights resumed after 90 minutes but were suspended again after a security breach on the civilian side of the airport, a Pentagon spokesperson said.



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