Prince William personally stepped in to ensure that an Afghan officer he knew from Sandhurst was able to flee the country with his family.
The Duke of Cambridge, 39, heard the former cadet was trapped in Kabul following the Taliban’s swift takeover and asked his equerry, Naval officer Rob Dixon, to contact personnel in the region.
Following the intervention, the officer, who William met during his training at the military academy in Berkshire, and his relatives were able to get into the airport and board a flight to the UK.
The officer is thought to have served in the Afghan army and worked closely with British troops, meaning he and his family would have been particularly vulnerable to reprisals.
All 10 of them, including a number of women and children, were eligible to leave but struggled to navigate the hectic and perilous route to the airport, The Telegraph reports.
The Duke’s actions were praised by former paratrooper Major Andrew Fox, who said the intervention was ‘fully in line with what we get taught in the Army in terms of values’.
He told the newspaper, ‘I myself got 2 Para to rush out into the crowd and grab someone for me’, adding: ‘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.’
General Sir Richard Barrons, who was head of UK Joint Forces Command, told The Telegraph many veterans did the same thing, adding that ‘the reverse would have been intolerable – that you might know someone was in dire straits, they might have appealed to you directly, but you did nothing’.
He went on: ‘It’s an entirely reasonable thing to do. What none of us did was demand that anybody be on the first plane out. We simply made sure that they were registered in the system.’
More than 8,000 former Afghan staff and their family members eligible under the Afghan relocations and assistance policy (Arap) were among the 15,000-plus people evacuated by the UK since August 13.
But thousands of Afghans who helped British efforts in the nation and their relatives, as well as other vulnerable civilians, are feared to have been left behind.
Speaking during a visit to Merville Barracks in Colchester, Essex, on Thursday, Boris Johnson insisted the UK needs to ‘level’ with the Taliban and make them understand the need to give safe passage to those wanting to leave Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister signalled further engagement between the West and the Taliban could be dependent on enabling the departures of Britons and Afghans left behind.
Mr Johnson told reporters: ‘The real job now is – two things we have got to do – we have got to make sure that we continue the work with local councils coming forward to help people find somewhere to live, make sure their kids have got somewhere to go to school, make sure they can be properly integrated into the UK economy and society.
‘Secondly, we have got to make sure that we level with the Taliban or the new authorities in Kabul.
‘They have got to understand that if they want engagement with the West, with us, our friends, and I know that they do, then the first priority for us is safe passage for those who want to leave.’
Earlier, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said evacuations may be able to resume from Kabul airport ‘in the near future’ as he expressed a need for direct engagement with the Taliban.
The Cabinet minister raised hopes following talks in Qatar on Thursday.
Mr Raab said the UK will not recognise the Taliban in the ‘foreseeable future’ but said there is an ‘important scope for engagement and dialogue’.
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