Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Wales Online
Wales Online
Cathy Owen

Harry 'painted a target on his back' with comments about killing 25 Taliban, ex-Army colonel says

Prince Harry has been accused of "betraying" his Army colleagues amid criticism for his revelations of how many people he killed during his tours of Afghanistan. The 38-year-old claimed in his forthcoming memoir Spare that he killed 25 Taliban fighters while working as a helicopter pilot.

Former British Army Colonel Richard Kemp has said the Duke of Sussex's decision to spill details in the autobiography is a "betrayal of the people he fought alongside".

Prince Harry says in the book that he saw the people he killed as "chess pieces" taken off the board, he said. The Telegraph, which obtained a Spanish language copy of the memoir from a bookshop in Spain, reported Harry said flying six missions during his second tour of duty on the front line resulted in "the taking of human lives" of which he was neither proud nor ashamed.

Read more: All the key points and revelations so far from Spare

He wrote: "So, my number is 25. It's not a number that fills me with satisfaction, but nor does it embarrass me."

But former Colonel Richard Kemp has raged in The Sun that the comments have simply painted a bigger target on the Prince's back after Buckingham Palace stopped providing him with personal security when he relinquished his royal duties.

Colonel Kemp added: "He is suggesting the British Army trains people, including him, not to see the enemy as human beings, which is very far from the truth. The Army is extremely careful to differentiate between innocent civilians and fighters on the battlefield. It undermines his personal security. He has shot himself in the foot.

"Fighting in Afghanistan, Harry gained a very strong reputation both in the Army and in the country. These comments will damage that reputation and he won't be looked on in quite the same light, by people who thought highly of him before, including me."

Harry first went to war in 2007 on a 10-week tour of duty fighting the Taliban in dangerous Helmand Province, operating as a battlefield air controller behind enemy lines. The secret mission - which ended early after it was leaked on the internet - gave him the opportunity to be treated as a real soldier, rather than a prince.

In September 2012, he made it back to Afghanistan for a second time. The 20-week stint gave him the chance to use his Apache flying skills and head out on operations in his role as co-pilot gunner.

But he was criticised on his return to the UK for frank comments that he took the enemy "out of the game", and soldiers "take a life to save a life". Harry says he is publishing his memoirs because he does not know "how staying silent is ever going to make things better".

Rishi Sunak has declined to comment after the Duke of Sussex claimed to have killed 25 people as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan.

Asked if such a claim was wise, the Prime Minister told broadcasters: "I wouldn't comment on matters to do with the royal family.

"I would just say I am enormously grateful to our armed forces for the incredible job they do in keeping us all safe. We're all very fortunate for their service."

Read next:

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.