The world is reeling following claims from Prince Harry that he killed 25 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan while referring to them as “chess pieces” that needed to be taken off the board.
In damning revelations in his new book Spare, the Duke of Sussex known as Captain Wales in the British military revealed he flew on six missions that resulted in the “taking of human lives,” The Sun reported.
“My number is 25,” he wrote. “It’s not a number that fills me with satisfaction but nor does it embarrass me.”
The 38-year-old said he was neither proud nor ashamed of his death toll, justifying his actions by calling insurgents “baddies” that needed to be “eliminated before they could kill goodies".
During his time in Afghanistan, Prince Harry served as a forward air controller in air raids from 2007 to 2008, before flying an attack helicopter between 2012 and 2013. Video cameras mounted on the nose of his Apache helicopter reportedly enabled him to assess his missions and determine how many he had killed.
But Dr Charles Miller, a Senior Lecturer of politics and international relations at the Australian National University, said he wasn’t sure how Prince Harry could be “so certain”.
“I think most Australian veterans would probably find it quite hard to see how, given Prince Harry's job, he could have been quite so sure about exactly how many people he killed,” Dr Miller told Yahoo News Australia.
“I think most people would be a little bit dubious about these claims. It does seem a little bit suspect to be honest.”
‘People don’t boast about such things’
Prince Harry’s revelations came just days before his autobiography was due to be released, after a bookshop in Spain is alleged to have mistakenly put his book on their shelves for sale prematurely, before it was hastily withdrawn.
His admission to killing 25 people in Afghanistan has left many appalled.
“Love you Prince Harry but you need to shut up!” former Royal Marine Ben McBean, who lost an arm and leg during a bomb blast in the war, wrote on Twitter. “Makes you wonder the people he’s hanging around with. If it was good people somebody by now would have told him to stop.”
“Real soldiers tend to shy away... People I know don’t boast about such things,” British MP, Colonel Bob Stewart, told the Daily Mail. “They rather regret that they have had to do it.”
“I don't think it's really something that you're encouraged to talk about,” Dr Charles Miller added.
“I don't think that most veterans would really be comfortable talking about specifically how many people they had killed or any of the real details of it unless they were talking to somebody that they knew and trusted really, really well. Talking to the media about it, however, obviously doesn't fall into that category.”
Meanwhile a former British Army commander in Afghanistan slammed Prince Harry's claim as a security threat.
“All the good work Prince Harry did on behalf of the Armed forces has been undermined by his comments," Colonel Richard Kemp told The Mirror. "Not only has he gone too far in talking about this in terms of himself, but it may have repercussions for others. His comments may effect the security of his former comrades on foreign operations.”
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