Prince Harry has revealed the number of people he killed while serving as a military helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, in his new memoir Spare.
The Taliban administration has since criticised the royal who described the 25 people he killed as “chess pieces removed from the board”.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Prince Harry accused of spilling military secrets.
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The 38-year-old recounted his two tours of Afghanistan in one section of the book – first as a forward air controller in 2007/08 and again in 2012, when he was a co-pilot gunner in Apache attack helicopters – as well as his body count.
“It wasn’t a statistic that filled me with pride but nor did it leave me ashamed,” Harry wrote, according to the Spanish version of the book released early in an apparent bungle.
“When I found myself plunged in the heat and confusion of combat I didn’t think of those 25 as people.
“They were chess pieces removed from the board, Bad people eliminated before they could kill Good people.”
Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesperson for the Taliban-led Afghan foreign affairs ministry, criticised the comments.
“The western occupation of Afghanistan is truly an odious moment in human history and comments by Prince Harry is a microcosm of the trauma experienced by Afghans at the hands of occupation forces who murdered innocents without any accountability,” he said.
Anas Haqqani, a senior leader for the Taliban also Tweeted in response, condemning Harry’s turn of phrase and accusing him of war crimes, but applauding his transparency.
“The ones you killed were not chess pieces, they were humans; they had families who were waiting for their return,” he wrote
“Among the killers of Afghans, not many have your decency to reveal their conscience and confess to their war crimes.”
When asked about Harry’s comments, a spokesperson for Britain’s Ministry of Defence said: “We do not comment on operational details for security reasons.”
Representatives of Prince Harry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Harry’s highly personal book went on sale in Spain days before its global launch on January 10.
Along with his military exploits, it discloses the depth of the rift between he and his brother William, and other revelations such as drug-taking and how he lost his virginity.
‘He obviously needs help’
Weekend Sunrise social commentator and journalist Suzanne Mostyn questioned whether anyone had advised Harry against revealing such sensitive military information in his book.
“I don’t think anyone was advising him of discretion being the better part of valour. Spare us, Harry, of some of the details,” Mostyn said.
“The whole book just speaks to a lack of self-awareness, a lack of editing, and frankly it is putting a target on his, and his intimates’, backs.”
“The fact there’s this braggadocio about gunning down 25 Taliban, the top brass of the military are saying this was reckless and incredibly dangerous for Harry’s former comrades who are still serving.”
Mostyn was joined on the show by consumer psychologist Adam Ferrier, who posed that the Prince’s memoir is a cry for help.
“We’re now talking about someone who had a devastating upbringing with his mother obviously dying when he was so young,” Ferrier said.
“This same person has killed 25 people. Imagine doing that. Imagine the trauma involved in killing those people. This guy is a psychological train wreck waiting to happen.
Ferrier said it “doesn’t sound like he” is getting “the help he needs”.
“I’d say get help, but then the issue becomes – from who? Because there will be so many parasites around this person, who are all wanting to make a buck or wanting to make a name for themselves. But he obviously needs help.”
– With AAP
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