According to a former British commander, comments made by Prince Harry about killing Taliban fighters in Afghanistan have damaged his reputation.
The Duke of Sussex wrote a memoir about his 25 kills as “chess pieces removed from the board.”
Richard Kemp, a former army officer and colonel told the BBC that Prince Harry’s remarks were “ill-judged.”
He added that the remarks might have compromised his safety and incited individuals to seek retribution.
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In his autobiography “Spare,” Prince Harry discusses his time spent serving as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. BBC News obtained a copy of the book shortly after it was made available to the public in Spain.
In it, he admits for the first time that he killed 25 enemy fighters. This is entirely plausible, given that he served two tours in the Helmand region of the country.
He writes that it wasn’t a statistic that made him feel proud of himself but didn’t feel ashamed of himself.
“When I was in the thick of the action and couldn’t make heads or tails of what was going on, I didn’t even think of those 25 as individuals. They were pieces of chess that had been taken off the board. Elimination of evildoers before they can inflict harm on innocent bystanders.”
Before flying Apache helicopters during his second and more extended tour of duty, Harry had a brief stint as a forward air controller on the ground, where he was responsible for calling in strikes.
In response to the comments made by the prince, a spokesman for the Taliban named Bilal Karami accused the forces of countries that had previously fought in Afghanistan of “committing crimes.” He stated that this confession demonstrates that the occupying forces of all countries have similar criminal histories.
In October of 2001, the United States of America and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan on the pretext that the Taliban were protecting Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda members who were involved in the 9/11 attacks.
Col. Kemp, dispatched to Kabul in 2003 to take command of forces in Afghanistan, stated that the Taliban insurgents who were killed were terrible people, and he did not have a problem with Prince Harry revealing the number of Taliban insurgents he had killed. However, he did have a problem with how Harry suggested that the army saw Taliban insurgents as “sub-human and just as chess pieces to be knocked over.”
He stated this to BBC Breakfast: “When he claims in his book that insurgents were viewed as nothing more than chess pieces to be taken out of the game, I believe he is wrong, and I think he is being subhuman when he makes those statements.
“That is not even close to being true.” And contrary to what he claims, this is different from how the British Army instructs its soldiers…
“I believe that kind of comment, which doesn’t reflect reality, is misleading and potentially valuable to those people who wish the British forces and the British government harm, so I think it was an error in judgment,”
In defense of Harry, he stated that the prince should be “proud” of his kill number due to the “effective impact” it would have had on the campaign, his bravery in action, and how he championed wounded soldiers. He also mentioned that Harry had been a champion for injured soldiers.
On the other hand, he warned that it might make the duke’s security situation even more precarious and that it might “provoke” people who sympathize with the Taliban to “attempt revenge.”
He went on to say that “it inflames old feelings of revenge that might have been forgotten about… no doubt about it there are people in the world today who already would have seen this and will be thinking about getting him back,” which was an addition to what he had previously said.
“that’s not how you behave in the army, and it’s not how we think,” a retired commanding officer colonel named Tim Collins, who gained worldwide fame for a speech he gave to troops in Iraq on the eve of a battle, criticized the book. He said, “that’s not how we think.”
In addition to this, he asserted that Prince Harry had “betrayed” his birth family and “turned against” the members of his military family.
In an article for the Spectator, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gravesham, Adam Holloway, who served in Iraq as a member of the British Army, stated that many soldiers did not believe it was appropriate to publicize their kill count.
“It has nothing to do with macho ideals. It’s a matter of common courtesy and showing respect for the people whose lives you’ve taken, “he had written.
An additional serviceman who is still active stated to the BBC that Harry’s statements were “very unsoldierlike.”
Without having access to all of the specific patrol reports, the soldier, who has served in Afghanistan on multiple occasions, admitted that it would be difficult for him to determine the number of “kills” in which he had been directly involved. It would be difficult to tell what was happening if many people were firing roughly in the same direction.
And he said, echoing the sentiments of many service members, that he had no interest in keeping count. Those who write books are the ones who, more often than not, appear to take a greater interest in their kill statistics.
Because of Harry’s job as a helicopter pilot, he probably had a better view than most people from the cockpit of his chopper, which allowed him to observe people up close using various sensors and screens.
In addition, he would be able to review footage captured from the cockpit and see the impact of his cannon and hellfire missiles, even though the clarity of the image would quickly be obscured by dust. However, it is not always possible to count the number of bodies on the ground or to differentiate between those who have been injured and those who have been killed.
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The Prime Minister of Rishi Sunak stated that he would not comment on whether or not the prince’s claim of 25 kills was appropriate, but he added that he was “extremely grateful to our armed forces.”
Answering a question about the number of enemies the prince has eliminated, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence responded, “We do not comment on operational details for security reasons.”