Prince Harry condemns attack that killed 10 staff from charity linked to Diana

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Prince Harry has condemned an attack on a charity his mother Diana worked with, which killed 10 people and left 16 more injured.

At 9.50pm local time on Tuesday, a group of armed men entered a HALO Trust camp in Baghlan province in Afghanistan, and killed members of the team while they were sleeping.

The charity's chief executive officer James Cowan said it was the most serious incident they had ever faced.

The HALO trust works to remove landmines from areas where there has previously been conflict, making it safer again for communities who live there.

The charity was supported by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, who visited one of the fields in Angola in 1997, with the picture of her walking across the area becoming iconic.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, visits a working de-mining field with the HALO Trust in Dirico Province, Angola, September 27, 2019. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS
Harry at a working de-mining field with the HALO Trust in Dirico Province, Angola, in September 2019. (Pool via Reuters)
ANGOLA - JANUARY 05:  Diana, Princess of Wales wearing protective body armour and a visor visits a landmine minefield being cleared by the charity Halo in Huambo, Angola  (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Diana, Princess of Wales wearing protective body armour at a landmine minefield which was being cleared by the charity Halo in Huambo, Angola in 1997. (Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

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Her son Harry now has a close tie with the charity, and visited their team in Dirico, southern Angola, in 2019 when he was in southern Africa on a royal tour.

Prince Harry said: "In all, 26 members of The HALO Trust’s Afghanistan team were killed or injured on Tuesday night in what was nothing less than an act of barbarism. I honour those who have been lost and encourage support for the survivors and the families of those affected.

"Those who work for HALO in Afghanistan face risks every day to remove the lasting—and still deadly—scars of war and conflict.

"The men who were attacked come from the very communities in which they work. They joined HALO to protect and restore their country and their homes. As I understand it, the deminers who lost their lives were also protecting their friends.

"These workers put their lives on the line every day to make the world a safer place. This brutal act reminds us that we must stand in solidarity with humanitarian aid workers and the communities they serve.

"I would urge all of HALO’s supporters across the world to rally to their cause and help in any way they can."

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The trust said the attack was carried out by an unknown armed group.

An affiliate of so-called ISIL has said it was behind the attack.

Cowan said: "Each one of those unnamed men was the member of a family, was a father, or a brother, or a son, and the hole they have left at the HALO trust is huge.

"What took place was genuinely horrific."

He explained the charity has worked in Afghanistan since 1988, the year the trust was founded, and the staff are Afghans who go out to make the area safer for other Afghans.

Cowan added: "And now they've given their lives to murder.

"We could take note of this incident and leave. We could be fearful of what's happening in Afghanistan, but we were there before 9/11, a full decade before.

"We've been there through the ups and downs of life and death in Afghanistan and now as the international community prepares to leave, we are going to stay."

He reiterated the trust's commitment to hiring people from all communities and said it had work to do.