Prince William ensured the safe passage of a trapped Afghan soldier who he knew from Sandhurst to the UK after hearing of his plight.
The Duke of Cambridge, 39, decided to intervene after hearing that the officer, who he met during his training at the military academy in Berkshire, was trapped in Kabul with his family after the Taliban seized power earlier this month.
The royal’s equerry naval officer Rob Dixon was able to contact personnel in the region and the former cadet, who is thought to have served in the Afghan national army, and his relatives were permitted to board a flight at Kabul airport to Britain.
The duke’s intervention comes as Britain and America officially ended their military presence in Afghanistan this week – leaving behind hundreds of citizens and Afghan allies desperate to flee the country.
Prince William, 39, decided to intervene after he heard that an Afghan officer, who he met during his training at Sandhurst, was trapped with his family in Kabul
The officer in Afghanistan had previously worked closely with British troops and his role had left him and his family, which included women and children, in a vulnerable position within the country, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Following his rescue, former paratrooper Major Andrew Fox, said the duke’s intervention was ‘fully in line with what we get taught in the Army in terms of values’.
He told The Daily Telegraph: ‘I myself got 2 Para to rush out into the crowd and grab someone for me.
‘It’s fully in line with what we get taught in the Army in terms of values, loyalty, respect for others, all that good stuff. We’re trained to help where we can.
‘The situation was so chaotic and was so, frankly, mismanaged, that people would do whatever they could to get out.’
Earlier this week, Britain and America officially ended their military presence in Afghanistan with the final US troops flying out from Kabul’s airport.
And a night-vision image showed America’s Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, boarding a military transport as the last US soldier to leave Afghanistan after 20 years of war.
The RAF had made its last evacuation flight on Sunday to give US forces enough time to clear the ground ahead of the deadline set by Joe Biden, bringing to an end a deployment which began in the wake of September 11.
The UK government helped fly some 15,000 people to safety, but stories have emerged of interpreters who helped the armed forces over the last 20 years and even people with British passports stranded behind Taliban checkpoints.
It is not known precisely how many people who were promised sanctuary in the UK were left behind.
Some 200 American passport holders are now thought to be living under Taliban rule, with an unknown number of Afghans promised sanctuary – thought to number in the thousands – also abandoned.
British and US troops help evacuate people out of Kabul, Afghanistan, after the Taliban seize power
Hundreds of people try to cross into Pakistan, at Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, this month
The Taliban held a press conference at Kabul airport on Monday, with spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid (centre) saying the west’s retreat should serve as ‘a warning’ to all future invaders
‘There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure,’ General Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said on Monday night. ‘We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out. But I think if we’d stayed another 10 days, we wouldn’t have gotten everybody out.’
Shortly after US troops left the airport, images emerged of Taliban Badri 313 units – known as the group’s ‘special forces’ – securing the airport while dressed in US-made kit and carrying American weapons – seizing more US helicopters, planes and vehicles in the process.
On Tuesday morning, senior Taliban figures including spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid gathered at the airstrip for a celebratory press conference – hailing the end of what they called ‘western occupation’.
‘Congratulations to Afghanistan… this victory belongs to us all,’ Mujahid told reporters, saying the Taliban’s victory is a ‘lesson for other invaders and for our future generation. It is also a lesson for the world,’ he added.
Reports suggest many are already fleeing through Pakistan to the east and Iran to the west. The US and UK are still working on arrangements to allow people to be evacuated from these neighbouring countries.
The departure of American troops means the conflict ends with the Taliban back in power and Afghans deeply uncertain of what the future holds.
In a statement, Biden said the world would be watching how the Taliban behaved.
‘The Taliban has made commitments on safe passage and the world will hold them to their commitments,’ he said, adding that negotiations continued to keep the airport open and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid.
He added that he would address the nation on Tuesday and that his military chiefs had agreed the evacuation should not be extended beyond the deadline.
‘Their view was that ending our military mission was the best way to protect the lives of our troops, and secure the prospects of civilian departures for those who want to leave Afghanistan in the weeks and months ahead,’ he said.
REVEALED: More than 1,000 US citizens and Afghan allies were evacuated through a secret CIA base outside of Kabul during chaotic airlift
By GEOFF EARLE, Deputy U.S. Political Editor For Dailymail.com
As State Department personnel and military members were ferrying Americans and Afghans to the Kabul airport during the chaotic evacuation, the CIA oversaw an evacuation to get Afghan commandos and US citizens out of the country.
The effort use as an organizing point the CIA’s secret Eagle Base – which was deliberately destroyed in an explosion just days before the last US troops left Afghanistan.
It succeeded in getting at least 1,000 Afghan commandos and service members out of the country, Politico reported.
A U.S. Chinook helicopter flies near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. After the fall of the Afghan government, the CIA oversaw an evacuation to get Afghan commandos and US citizens out of the country using a CIA base as a staging facility
It all took place during a few frantic weeks in August around the time of the fall of the U.S. backed government in Kabul.
Some of the evacuees were flown between the base, housed in a former brick factory, and the Kabul airport located less than three miles away, according to the report after August 15th, when the government fell.
The military confirmed two instances of US troops going ‘outside the wire’ of the Kabul airport during the frantic last days before the US troop pullout, but generally sought to avoid giving detailed information about evacuation operations.
The Eagle Base, which also served as a staging area for the operations, was destroyed through a ‘controlled demolition’ just days before the final troop withdrawal, the New York Times reported.
In this Aug. 24, 2021, file photo provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, families walk towards their flight during ongoing evacuations at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan. The CIA oversaw missions to get an estimated 1,000 Afghan commandos and family members out of the country
In this Aug. 16, 2021 file photo, U.S. soldiers stand guard along the perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan
Special operations Blackhawk takes off fast in Afghanistan
The facility was ensconced in 10-foot walls, was used for training Afghan commandos deemed to be the most effective fighters in an Afghan military that collapsed, and was located near a secret detention facility where an Afghan man died in CIA custody early in the war.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki during her briefing Wednesday revealed new details of efforts to get American and Afghans out, even while dodging a question about an estimated 100 Afghan workers for Voice of America, Radio Free Liberty, and Radio Azadi, the Afghan branch of the broadcast service.
‘I think it’s important to remember, again, 120,000 people made it out of the airport and the country, and our commitment to people who want to evacuate, once we leave: American citizens, journalists, Afghan partners who have stood by our side, is enduring and remains,’ she said.
Without speaking to the fate of the journalists, she then spoke about ‘some of the ways that we worked to get American citizens out,’ including the ‘muster points.’ She said State officials would ‘blast notifications through a variety of channels’ to people who would then travel by bus into the airport in convoys or travel on foot.
She said there were ‘multiple opportunities for each of these muster points at various times. ‘We also talked people through one-on-one walking to the airport,’ she said. She called it ‘incredibly labor intensive.’
She said in ‘limited cases’ where people were ‘trapped or in immediate danger’ US security forces ‘went beyond the wire, sometimes in a helicopter, to pick people up safely.’ She said they were ‘dangerous missions.’