Military veterans have warned that the Invictus Games could be at risk of terrorist attacks after Prince Harry claimed to have killed 25 Taliban fighters.
Former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Lord West told sunday mirror: ‘The Invictus Games are known by their name and so I would have thought that the danger level there would definitely be higher.
“What he said would have serious security issues,” he said. The Taliban must be reading this thinking that this prince is treating us all as chess pieces and is more than happy to kill us.
‘And I’m sure there will be a lot of people in the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations who will think this is something that should be avenged.’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex embrace Lisa Johnson, a former army doctor and amputee, who celebrates with her medal at the Invictus Games venue in The Hague, Netherlands, Sunday, April 17, 2022 .
File photo dated 27/02/08 of Warrant Officer Nathan Hunt during deployment to Helmand province in southern Afghanistan
The Duke of Sussex is the founder of the Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded military veterans that was launched in 2014.
The next competition is due to be held in Düsseldorf, Germany, in September, but military experts say extra measures are likely to be taken to protect ex-servicemen.
It comes as Harry’s comments were condemned as a ‘terrible mistake’ by the grieving father of one of his Afghanistan comrades, who killed himself after returning home.
Derek Hunt, whose son Nathan served as a bomb-disposal specialist with Harry’s unit in 2008, said: ‘Many soldiers and veterans will find the comments about his killing very disturbing – and probably [they] It may even prompt some people to have flashbacks of their time in the war.’
It comes as an ex-army mental health specialist told the Mail on Sunday that he had been contacted by troubled former patients who had read about the Duke of Sussex’s comments in his forthcoming memoir, Spare.
File photo dated 27/02/08 of Warrant Officer Nathan Hunt (front right) with Prince Harry (back centre), Dean Smith (back left) and other members of his battle group on deployment to Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. Mr Hunt, who was cited for his courage in detecting roadside bombs while serving with Prince Harry in Afghanistan, was found hanged after years of nightmares and sleepless nights.
Derek and Maria Hunt, parents of Nathan Hunt, Royal Engineer, who took his own life in January 2018
In the book, Harry violates a long-standing military practice by going into detail about shooting down insurgents from his Apache helicopter gunship. He rationalized the killing by viewing enemy combatants as pawns on a chessboard, he said.
Nathan Hunt, a Warrant Officer in the Royal Engineers, is said to have saved Harry’s life on several occasions when he discovered hidden bombs buried by the rebels.
But after coming home from the war he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and took his own life in January 2018 while serving in the army.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex as seen at the Invictus Games in The Hague on 17 April 2022
Soon afterwards, Harry penned a touching letter to Mr Hunt and his wife Maria, which read: ‘Grief can be a long and arduous road. Please know that you and your family remain in my thoughts.
Mr Hunt, who is also an army veteran, said his son would have been ‘disgusted’ by Harry’s comments about killing rebels, adding: ‘Many of those who are still serving or who are veterans They must have spent years trying to forget the fact that they committed the murder. people.
‘Taking a life is a very difficult thing for most people – it’s nothing to brag about. That’s why they never talk about it.
‘My son Nathan never told us what he saw or did because he knew it would be upsetting to us and he didn’t want to do it again.
‘He was suffering from nightmares because of what he saw and he was also suffering from PTSD. Harry’s claim about killing people and removing them from the battlefield will not sit comfortably with a lot of people and will bring back a lot of bad memories.
‘I really don’t understand why Harry did it. It is thoughtless. It seems that he did not pay any attention to it.
A previously unpublished photo dated 12/12/2012 of Prince Harry at Camp Bastion southern Afghanistan where he served as an Apache helicopter pilot/gunner with 662 Sqd Army Air Corps
Prince Harry manning a 50mm machine gun takes aim at Taliban fighters in Helmand province, Afghanistan, January 2, 2008
Taliban fighters patrol a street during a demonstration of people to condemn the recent protest by Afghan women’s rights activists in Kabul on January 21, 2022
Prominent military figures have already criticized Harry’s comments, expressing concern they could ‘trigger’ trauma for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Last night, such fears were confirmed as it emerged that veterans with mental health issues who saw news reports about Harry’s claims have called for professional support.
Former Army Major Cormac Doyle, a mental health nurse who served for 25 years and specializes in treating service personnel with mental health problems including PTSD, said: ‘I’ve already received calls from many of my former patients who are deeply troubled by Harry’s words. Where is it? In all my years of serving and treating soldiers, I have never heard anyone speak like this.
‘Harry is about to become a mental-health campaigner, so what he said was badly thought out. As a member of the royal family, but more importantly, as a former army officer, I expected the same from him. Words have power, and they have troubled many people struggling mentally.
It would be a devastating blow to Harry, who spent years building his reputation as a mental-health campaigner.
Taliban fighters stand guard outside the airport in Kabul on August 31, 2021
Prince Harry being shown an Apache flight-line by a member of his squadron (not named) at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, where he operated during his tour of duty as a co-pilot gunner.
One Guard officer said: ‘Most of us have spent the past decade dodging dinner party questions by drunk guests with the gory charm of the toughest part of service life.
‘By disclosing his battle figures in such a public way he will certainly pull up many of the ghosts of this conflict for other veterans.’
Former Army Major Wayne Overs, 52, a highly decorated soldier who was discharged with PTSD, said: ‘As a campaigner for mental-health awareness, he must be acutely aware that his What effect will the comments have on the people he ostensibly tries to support? Harry’s comments are insensitive and unnecessary.
Trevor Colt, a color sergeant who was awarded the Military Cross, warned: ‘There’s a reason most veterans don’t like to talk about what they did in war and that’s because it gives them a very takes you to a dark place.
‘It is shameful for a so-called mental-health campaigner to speak like this and his words will bring up very bad memories for many traumatized ex-servicemen.’
Falklands veteran and former Royal Marine Sergeant-Major Jeff Williams, 64, of the support group Veterans United Against Suicide, said: ‘For many veterans this will bring back terrible memories of being killed and losing friends in battle.
‘I’m surprised that Harry, who is made to be a mental-health campaigner, didn’t realize this. It is at its peak.
Last night, a spokesperson for veterans’ charity PTSD Resolve, which has helped more than 3,500 cope with PTSD, said the organization was working to ‘manage’ the fallout from Harry’s book.
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