Harry said he did not think of them ‘as people’
Prince Harry has reportedly revealed that he killed 25 Taliban fighters during his second tour in Afghanistan.
The Duke of Sussex, who was in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter pilot, said that he did not think of them “as people” but instead ‘chess pieces’ he had taken off the board.
He said it was “not a number that fills me with satisfaction, but nor does it embarrass me”, according to the Telegraph.
It’s the first time that the Duke of Sussex has spoken openly about the number of fighters he personally killed during his time in Afghanistan.
Writing in his upcoming autobiography Spare, the royal said he saw insurgents as “baddies eliminated before they could kill goodies”. It is not possible to kill someone “if you see them as a person”, he says, but the Army had “trained me to ‘other’ them and they had trained me well.”
He adds that: “I made it my purpose, from day one, to never go to bed with any doubt whether I had done the right thing…whether I had shot at Taliban and only Taliban, without civilians in the vicinity. I wanted to return to Great Britain with all my limbs, but more than that I wanted to get home with my conscience intact.”
He says that in war soldiers do not usually know how many enemies they have killed, but “in the era of Apaches and laptops” he was able to say “with exactness how many enemy combatants I had killed. And it seemed to me essential not to be afraid of that number.
“So my number is 25. It’s not a number that fills me with satisfaction, but nor does it embarrass me.”
Explaining why he feels no guilt about taking lives in Afghanistan, he said that he never forgot watching news coverage of the 9/11 attacks when he was at Eton.
He describes those responsible for the attacks, and their sympathisers, as “enemies of humanity”, and says that fighting them was an act of vengeance for one of the worst crimes in human history.
In fact, he said the only shots he thought twice about were the ones he had not taken.
Prince Harry was deployed as a forward air controller in Helmand province during his first tour of duty in 2007-08, which was cut short when foreign news organisations breached a news blackout that had been agreed with the British media.
In 2012, after learning to fly Apache helicopters, he was deployed to Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan with the Army Air Corps, staying for 20 weeks. He said at the time that killing insurgents was part of his job, and that “we fire when we have to, take a life to save a life”.
The Duke of Sussex’s upcoming autobiography is due for publication in the UK on January 10.
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