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Prince Harry criticized for claiming to have killed 25 Taliban fighters

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Prince Harry has drawn criticism from some security and military figures after claiming in his autobiography that he killed 25 Taliban fighters while serving with the British Army in Afghanistan.

Harry leaked the figure in his upcoming autobiography ‘Spare’, according to British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, which said it had obtained a copy of the Spanish version of the book ahead of its official release scheduled for Tuesday, January 10.

“My number is 25. It’s not a number that fills me with satisfaction, but it doesn’t embarrass me either,” Harry reportedly wrote. In another section, he is quoted as describing the Taliban insurgents as “chess pieces” removed from the board, rather than people.

CNN has not seen a copy of the book but has requested an advance copy of the book from publisher Penguin Random House. A number of British media outlets obtained Spanish copies on Thursday and quoted translated extracts.

The prince’s comments provoked a strong reaction from members of the military community, with high-profile figures saying they could jeopardize his safety and give the British military a bad name.

Former UK national security adviser Kim Darroch, who served as Britain’s ambassador to the US from 2016 to 2019, told Sky News he would have advised Harry against making the statements. And Colonel Richard Kemp, a retired British Army officer, told the same network they had “tarnished” his reputation and “unfairly” portrayed the British Army in a negative light.

“His suggestion that he killed 25 people will have reincited those who wish him harm,” Kemp said. “Let’s hope they don’t get it and I’m sure he has pretty good security, but that’s a problem.

“The other problem I found with his comments was that he characterized the British Army essentially as having trained him and other soldiers to see his enemy as less than human, just like pieces of chess on a board to be swept away, which is not the case. . It is quite the opposite”, he added.

Prince Harry served in the British Army for 10 years. He completed two tours in Afghanistan, one from 2007 to 2008 and the other from 2012 to 2013. He achieved the rank of captain in 2011 and qualified as a commander of Apache Aircraft. Captain Harry Wales, as he was known in the military, retired from service in 2015.

While serving in the British Army in Afghanistan, Harry said, he used to watch footage of every “kill” from the camera mounted on the nose of his Apache helicopter after returning to base, a reported the Telegraph.

Former Royal Marine Ben McBean, who Harry served with in Afghanistan, also wrote on Twitter on Thursday: “Love you #PrinceHarry but you gotta shut up! Wonder who he’s been hanging out with. If it was people well, someone now would have told him to stop.”

It’s unclear whether McBean was specifically referring to Harry’s comments about his time in the military, or more generally to a host of other revelations in Harry’s memoir that have caused turmoil in the British royal family.

Early reports of the book’s contents have dominated front pages in the UK and threaten another headache for Harry’s father, King Charles III, and brother, Prince William.

Perhaps the most dramatic revelation to emerge was the claim that William physically attacked Harry during an altercation in 2019, first reported by The Guardian.


CNN’s Niamh Kennedy and Ivana Kottasova contributed to this report.

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