March 26

Prince Charles in Afghanistan: remarkable and audacious


He is the most senior member of the royal family to travel to the country since the conflict began in 2001. Prince Charles has spent two days in the country, visiting the capital Kabul and various military bases, reports Andy Jack of Sky News, 25 March, 2010. 

Commander in Chief of 10 regiments, the Prince spent the night with soldiers at Camp Bastion, in Helmand Province, after becoming the "the only royal in living memory" to visit Kabul, Clarence House said.  He told Britain's military leaders and frontline soldiers: "We owe a huge amount to all of you operating in a remarkable team."

In Kabul he met civilians involved in regeneration efforts.  He also spoke to tribal and religious leaders and senior government ministers, discussing their perspectives on reintroducing stability to the region. His spokesman said he had been "very pleased" to have spent time with troops, having been "keen" to make the trip for several years.


Sky News reported that the Prince, wearing an armoured jacket with goggles and helmet, visited bases in Nad-e-Ali, where much of the UK's effort was based during Operation Moshtarak, and Lashkar Gah. After being told of the progress troops were making, Charles left a wreath paying tribute to dead soldiers at Camp Bastion.

…Prince Harry…

He was also given a chance to try out British troops' mine clearance equipment. He spoke to President Hamid Karzai before flying in but they were unable to meet during the visit.  During the tour, Charles said he felt "incredibly proud of what they do out here". He also paid tribute to the role played by relatives of soldiers at home.

"The families are the most wonderful support to their loved ones – that is what they do so magnificently." 

It comes more than two years after his son, Prince Harry, returned from frontline duty. Charles said: "As a parent, you worry the whole time. I think, if you are out here, you are getting on with everything and it's not the same.  But for everyone left behind it's ghastly." 


According to Sky News, the Prince met General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of US and Nato troops, and Afghan District Governor Gulab Mangal.

He flew into the Afghan National Army brigade camp of Shorabak in an RAF Chinook helicopter, close to Camp Bastion, where he was greeted by an Afghan guard of honour before speaking with Afghan troops and their British mentors from 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment.


Sky's chief correspondent, Stuart Ramsay, who is in Kabul, said: "This visit is a surprise – no doubt about it – a remarkable trip for Prince Charles. Audacious is a good description of it."



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