Prince Harry Reportedly ‘Risking His Life’ in Afghanistan

Oct 12, 2012 11:20am

 

Britain’s Prince Harry is “in the thick of” fighting in Afghanistan and has had “multiple engagements” with the Taliban during his time in the war zone, according to a new report in the UK’s The Sun.

Harry, 28, is one month in to a four-month tour of duty as a chopper pilot in Afghanistan.   He is stationed at Camp Bastion in Helmand province, on the front line.  Citing an unnamed “military source,” the Sun reports that Harry, known as Captain Wales in the British Army, is part of a four-man team on around-the-clock standby to both fire at the enemy and provide cover for aircraft rescuing wounded soldiers.

“Think World War Two Spitfire pilot and The Battle of Britain,” the source told the Sun.  “He can be sat in a deckchair for hours then scrambled immediately. When in the air his role is diverse.”

READ MORE: Prince Harry Heads to War in Afghanistan

The palace has had no comment on Harry’s time in Afghanistan.

The prince, and third-in-line to the British throne, also served a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2008 that was cut short because of publicity and concerns for the safety of him and his fellow soldiers.

The news of Prince Harry’s reported direct engagement with Taliban fighters comes less than one month after Camp Bastion was attacked by 15 Taliban fighters dressed in U.S. Army uniforms.

WATCH: Was Prince Harry the Target of Afghanistan Attack?

Two U.S. Marines were killed in the attack, and nine others were wounded, including one civilian contractor.   NATO officials said at the time that Prince Harry was several miles away, and was never in danger during the attack.

Just as Prince Harry arrived in Afghanistan last month, a Taliban spokesperson said that the terror group would use “all our strength” to kidnap or kill the prince.

READ MORE: Taliban Threatens to Kill Prince Harry

“We are using all our strength to get rid of him, either by killing or kidnapping,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters by phone around Sept. 10. “We have informed our commanders in Helmand to do whatever they can to eliminate him.”

Mujahid made the same threat in an earlier interview with Agence France Presse, saying the Taliban had a “high-value plan” to get the prince. “It is not important for us to kidnap him,” he said. “We will target him and we will kill him.”

Harry qualified as an Apache helicopter pilot in February after completing a rigorous 18-month training program in the United Kingdom and United States that left him and his fellow trainees, “up to the challenge of operating one the of the most sophisticated attack helicopters in the world,” according to a statement from Britain’s Defense Ministry.

The Sun broke news last January that the 18-month training program included Harry, who first entered the military in 2005, being hooded and threatened in intense hostage training to prepare him for a possible return to Afghanistan.

Harry, the third in line to the throne, is the first British royal to complete that level of intense training, according to the Sun. His current tour of duty in Afghanistan will make him one of the most decorated Royals in history.

After completing his U.K. and U.S.-based training, in February, Prince Harry was named as the best front-seat pilot, or co-pilot gunner, from his class of more than 20 fellow Apache helicopter pilots.  Harry’s award was one of only two given at the end of the training course and marked the student whose “overall performance during the course is assessed as the best amongst their peer group,” the ministry noted.

ABC News’ Randy Kreider and Lima Hasan contributed to this report.

 

 

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