Afghan chaos ‘will cause anxiety and sadness’ for injured veterans

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A retired Army nurse who served in Afghanistan and now supports injured veterans has said coverage of the chaos in the country will cause them anxiety and sadness.

Phil Hall, 46, was based at Camp Bastion during two tours of Afghanistan, and treated severely injured soldiers, civilians and even Taliban fighters who had been flown in for emergency treatment.

He now works for Help for Heroes as a complex clinical case manager, helping veterans who might have undergone amputation or suffered brain injury, years after they were blown up while on tour.

Mr Hall, based at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, said some were able to discuss their feelings about what has happened to the country so quickly.

He told the PA news agency: “There’s some anxiety, watching it on the news.

“When I see it I can smell it and taste it, and I am sure the veterans I work with still feel the heat and the tension.

“You feel like you are back there.”

He urged any veterans feeling their physical or mental health suffering to seek support from their GP or from charities such as Help for Heroes.

He said: “It’s not unusual to feel sad when you see what’s on the TV at the moment.”

Mr Hall said he understood Defence Secretary Ben Wallace almost breaking down during interviews earlier on Monday.

He said: “He is a lot more emotional than me, he expressed very well what I am feeling on the inside. His emotions encapsulate what most veterans are feeling.

“He must have thought he could do something about it, but the speed of what happened has taken everyone by surprise.”

Phil Hall
Phil Hall served two tours in Afghanistan (Tom Wilkinson/PA)

“Hopefully there’s people still alive now who might not have lived, so from a personal account, yes it was.”

But whether the war was worth it for others was a question for people who were injured, or the families of those who died, he said.

“Yes, it is sad when you see what is happening there now, and it is particularly scary for the people we worked with, and I hope we can get them out.”

The father of two said: “There are people I am concerned about now.

“Abdul was an army nurse and he was very similar to me, a little bit older, he had just had a family like I had. I wonder how safe he is now.

“You meet a lot of people during 26 years in the Army and culturally there might be differences, but we were two men, in the middle of the desert, earning money to provide for our families and we were looking after the troops who were injured on the ground.”

Help for Heroes urged any veterans affected by their service, particularly in light of coverage from Afghanistan – no matter when or where they served – to seek support at

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