Prince Harry leads remembrance tributes in Afghanistan

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Media captionPrince Harry felt it important to mark this milestone, said a spokesman

Prince Harry has led Remembrance Day tributes with British troops in Afghanistan, set to be the last service involving the withdrawing UK forces.

In a surprise visit, the prince joined troops at a base in Kandahar, laying a personal wreath and giving a reading.

More than 450 British soldiers have been killed during the 13-year fight against the Taliban.

A senior commander said their sacrifice meant Afghanistan was better and "we walk in safer streets at home".

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Image caption Prince Harry, appearing on behalf of the Queen, gave a reading and laid a wreath
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Image caption The wreath bore the handwritten note: "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. They will never be forgotten. Harry."
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Image caption Prince Harry climbed into the cockpit of a Tornado GR4 aircraft after the ceremony
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Image caption The prince has also taken part in remembrance services in the UK this week
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Image caption The royal has served as a soldier in Afghanistan

Brigadier Darrell Amison - Commander Joint Force Support (Afghanistan) - added: "The final Remembrance Sunday ceremony in southern Afghanistan has significant poignancy as we pay tribute to the 453 men and women who have given their lives since 2001, along with the many hundreds who have suffered life-changing injuries.

"We are incredibly proud of what they have achieved."

Britain ended combat operations in Afghanistan last month. Most troops have now been withdrawn, but 500 will stay on as mentors and trainers after 2014.

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Media captionBrigadier Darrell Amison addressed British troops at a ceremony in Afghanistan

Prince Harry flew into Kandahar Airfield to represent the Queen at the main Remembrance Sunday service.

Following the ceremony, the prince met service personnel and climbed into the cockpit of a Tornado GR4 aircraft, receiving a brief on the aircraft's role in support of Afghan army operations.

Prince Harry has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, the last of which - a four-month deployment as an Apache co-pilot gunner - ended in January 2013.

He was the first member of the Royal Family to see active combat since his uncle, the Duke of York, fought in the Falklands War.

The trip to Kandahar also afforded him an opportunity to spend time with the unit he was deployed with in 2012, the Ministry of Defence said.

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