Posted 70 days ago
LONDON (AP) — In a book full of startling revelations, Prince Harry’s assertion that he killed 25 people in Afghanistan is one of the most striking — and has drawn criticism from both enemies and allies.
In his memoir, “Spare,” Harry says he killed more than two dozen Taliban militants while serving as an Apache helicopter copilot gunner in Afghanistan in 2012-2013. He writes that he feels neither satisfaction nor shame about his actions, and in the heat of battle regarded enemy combatants as pieces being removed from a chessboard, “Baddies eliminated before they could kill Goodies.”
Harry has talked before about his combat experience, saying near the end of his tour in 2013 that “if there’s people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we’ll take them out of the game.”
But his decision to put a number on those he killed, and the comparison to chess pieces, drew outrage from the Taliban, and concern from British veterans.
“Mr. Harry! The ones you killed were not chess pieces, they were humans; they had families who were waiting for their return,” prominent Taliban member Anas Haqqani wrote Friday on Twitter.
The Taliban, who adhere to a strict interpretation of Islam, returned to power when Western troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021. Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi said Harry’s comments “are a microcosm of the trauma experienced by Afghans at the hands of occupation forces who murdered innocents without any accountability.”
In Britain, some veterans and military leaders said publishing a head count violated an unspoken military code.
Col. Tim Collins, who led a British battalion during the Iraq war, told Forces News that the statement was “not how you behave in the Army; it’s not how we think.” Retired Royal Navy officer Rear Adm. Chris Parry called the claim “distasteful.”
Some questioned whether Harry could be sure of the toll, but Harry said he reviewed video of his missions, and “in the era of Apaches and laptops,” technology let him know exactly how many enemy combatants he had killed.... (Read more)