Prince Harry In Afghanistan: Was Taliban-Killing Admission Appropriate From Captain Wales?


Is Prince Harry a hero, desperate to do his duty, or a privileged young man boasting about slaying Taliban fighters like video game villains?

The prince has been equally praised and admonished by the media and on social networking sites about his reluctantly-given interview where he admitted killing Taliban insurgents.

In action: Prince Harry is on his way back to the UK

"Take a life to save a life," Captain Wales shrugged. "That's what we revolve around, I suppose.

"If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game, I suppose."

Many on Twitter commented how foolish it was of Harry to make such statements, which could be so easily used against the UK and Royal Family.

Writing in the Guardian, Hadley Freeman said: "During his deployment in 2007-08, Captain Wales spoke of his frustration at not being able to partake in actual action. No more! Now he drops gung-ho aphorisms like Dick Cheney ("Take a life to save a life")."

But others said that it was unfair of the Press Association to have asked the prince about killing insurgents, and would have been a tough question, which the prince answered with dignity.

Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop The War Coalition, said the comments were "crass" and asked how the Prince knew those he killed were members of the Taliban.

"In recent months many civilians have been killed by air strikes. This arrogant and insensitive attitude to killing Afghans, whoever they are, is hardly likely to win hearts and minds - a supposed aim of the war.

"Prince Harry returns to a life of idleness and luxury, unlike most soldiers who face unemployment, austerity and social problems," she said.

The Times editorial leader called the Prince's service "a tribute to the values of the Army, monarchy and country."

"Prince Harry's courage and sense of duty (as much as his vivacity) provide a lens through which to view the spirit and standards of this country."

Harry is "a mature young man who.. stands ready alongside his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, to shoulder the burdens and responsibilities of steering the monarchy through the new millenium."

On Twitter, many said that it was to be expected that an Apache helicopter pilot have killed Taliban. Harry was sent on all manner of missions over Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, from supporting allied troops fighting the Taliban at close quarters to accompanying British Chinook and US Black Hawk helicopters on daring casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) missions.

His work as a JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) during his first tour of duty in 2007-08 saw him call in air strikes on enemy positions, which he watched unfold on a monitor nicknamed "Kill TV".

The prince flew on deadly sorties over the barren desert - often for hours on end - in support of International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) fighters.

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