Harry’s Taliban comments are ‘stab in the back’ for British Army

Prince Harry: A look at leaked claims from memoir Spare

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A former British Army commander has hit out at Prince Harry after his comments about killing dozens of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, which were shared Harry’s new memoir Spare. Colonel Richard Kemp told the the disclosure “goes against the norms” and is a “stab in the back” to the British Army.

The Duke of Sussex, who claimed to kill 25 Taliban fighters, said he did not view the deceased fighters as human but as chess pieces being removed from the board.

Colonel Kemp said: “The suggestion that the British Army trains its soldiers to see them as sub-human, like they are just chess pieces, just simply isn’t true.

“If it were, it would be a huge matter of concern. They are trained to regard the enemy as human beings. They are trained to respect their bodies, they are trained to treat them if they are injured, they are trained to respect them if they capture them.

“It is a bit of a stab in the back in the British Army to suggest it is not the case.

“By publicly stating he has killed 25 Taliban fighters, it is something that is going to be damaging for his own security.

“His last tour was 10 years ago, and he has always been a high-profile target, but it is now heightened again.

“It will probably incite those who want to take revenge and try and do so.”

Harry completed two tours of Afghanistan in 2007 and 2012. In a leaked excerpt of his book Spare, he said he flew six missions that led to the “taking of human lives”.

The Duke described being able to say “with exactness” the number of fighters he killed due to being in the “era of Apaches and laptops”.

He said: “And it seemed to me essential not to be afraid of that number. So my number is 25. It’s not a number that fills me with satisfaction, but nor does it embarrass me.”

The excerpt comes from a Spanish copy of the memoir that was seen, and had parts translated, by

Harry, who was reportedly called Officer Cadet Wales at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst during a 44-week training course,

In episode three, he said: “Two tours in Afghanistan, flying Apache helicopters on a military base means that you grow up pretty fast.”

He was first sent to Helmand Province as a forward air controller as part of his first tour lasting 10-weeks in 2007. The tour was cut short because an Australian publication broke an embargo by accident.

The Duke of Sussex, 28 at the time, returned to Camp Bastion in 2012 where he learned to use the Apache choppers and operated as a battlefield air controller behind enemy lines.

He has been criticised in the past for frank remarks about military working life.

Harry once described how he took the enemy “out of the game”, and how soldiers “take a life to save a life”.

“Take a life to save a life,” he said in an interview in 2013.

“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.”

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