Prince Harry at Camp Bastion during Taliban attack

 

Nato says Prince Harry was never in any danger despite the attack on Camp Bastion

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Prince Harry was at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan during an assault by the Taliban which killed two US marines.

American officials said small arms, rockets and mortars were used to attack the perimeter of the British base, home to troops from several countries.

The Taliban said it was a response to an amateur US-made film mocking Islam and later claimed the base was chosen because Harry was there.

Nato told Reuters news agency that the prince "was never in any danger".

Prince Harry, who is marking his 28th birthday, is in Afghanistan for four months on his second tour of duty.

The attack came as two Nato soldiers were killed by a man - thought to be a member of the Afghan local police force - who opened fire on troops in the south of the country. The gunman was subsequently shot dead.

The nationalities of the dead soldiers have not been made public.

On Friday, a British soldier - from 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards - was killed after his vehicle hit a roadside bomb in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province.

Defence visit

Camp Bastion is situated in the middle of the desert with excellent visibility all around, says the BBC's Jonathan Beale in Kabul.

The base includes personnel from the Denmark, Estonia and Afghanistan, as well as the UK and US. No UK casualties have been reported.

Locator map of Afghanistan

It is extremely heavily fortified and questions will be asked about how militants were able to stage the surprise assault, our correspondent added.

The attack comes a few days after Defence Secretary Philip Hammond visited troops there.

Sayed Malook, a commander in the Afghan National Army said the evening attack, which involved up to 20 Taliban fighters and lasted four hours, began with a suicide bomb blast that breached the base wall.

An International Security Assistance Force spokesman said that 18 Taliban fighters had been killed and one captured.

Describing the attack as "significant", an MoD spokesman said it was "there has been some damage to equipment which is still being assessed" and a "clearance operation" was taking place.

He added: "After swift action by ISAF forces, including UK personnel, the incident was contained."

In a telephone conversation with the BBC, Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadion reiterated earlier comments and said the attack was planned after they found out about the film US but added that Camp Bastion was chosen as the target because Prince Harry was there.

Brigadier General Gunter Katz, ISAF, said they were looking at how the Taliban managed to attack the base

Isaf spokesman Brigadier General Gunter Katz said the Taliban was "claiming a lot... They lose any credibility and it's very hard to understand what's behind the motives of those claims."

Violent protests against Western embassies have swept the Muslim world amid widespread anger over the film called Innocence of Muslims. They began on Tuesday in Egypt. On Friday, at least seven people died in escalating unrest in Khartoum, Tunis and Cairo.

There are fears of a surge in violence ahead of the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan by 2014.

'Threats to kill'

Camp Bastion is one of the world's busiest airports because of the heavy helicopter and plane traffic.

But successful head-on attacks by insurgents that penetrate the perimeter fence, which is protected by hi-tech detection systems, are rare.

Earlier this year, a member of Nato forces was injured when an Afghan man drove a pick-up truck onto the runway, which then burst into flames, during a visit by US defence secretary Leon Panetta.

Ahmad Majidyar, of the American Enterprise Institute think tank, told the BBC that Camp Bastion was a more likely target while the prince was there.

"One of the motivations could be the presence of Prince Harry in that camp, because the Taliban some days ago warned that they would target and kill Prince Harry," he said.

Prince Harry examining the cockpit of an Apache helicopter with a member of his squadron Prince Harry will be commanding an Apache helicopter and the threat to him is regarded as "low"

Prince Harry is the first member of the Royal Family to see active combat since his uncle Prince Andrew fought in the Falklands War.

Captain Wales, as the prince is known in the military, arrived as part of the 100-strong 662 Squadron, 3 Regiment, Army Air Corps earlier this month.

His first stint between 2007 and 2008 was cut short after 10 weeks because his presence was leaked by the international media.

For this current deployment, the Ministry of Defence made it clear it was willing to confirm Harry's role as he will be commanding an Apache helicopter and the threat to him is regarded as "low".

British forces have lost none of their 67 Apaches, although there have been two minor crashes.

During his previous deployment, Harry was a forward air controller directing planes bombing Taliban positions in Helmand.

 

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  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 69.

    Why are we still in Afghanistan??

    Dumbest war ever, and tragic to boot

    Everyone laughed at the Soviets when they invaded in 1979 because they were being so naive and stupid

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 68.

    If I were out there I would not want to be stationed anywhere near him.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 67.

    If the enemy can get through the perimeter and reach the airfield, is there a risk of a spectacular loss of life during a future attack ? Especially during the draw down.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 66.

    "the west has learnt about equality and science. The rest of the world will follow in due course." - yes, let's ignore the Eastern centres of learning, which were repositories of knowledge and culture while we were stuck in the dark ages!

    There's a lot of anti-Islamic feeling here. Too many people forget that violence doesn't come from 'muslims', but from 'extremists'.

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 64.

    36. krokodil
    8 MINUTES AGO
    Certain sections of the Islamic world are for want of a better word, nuts.

    Deeply insecure.

    AND THEREFORE EASILY MANIPULATED BY OTHER "NUTTERS" / PSYCHOS EMBEDDED WITHIN VARIOUS "WESTERN" ADMINISTRATIONS.....

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 63.

    Every group seems to have their fanatics, let's not tar all Muslim's with the same brush!

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -12

    Comment number 61.

    This reaction is the motivation of the film. The US should globally denounce the film and its makers. That Terry Jones was warned when he cheapened the 9./11 rememberance with his threat to burn the Koran. At least the cartoons where satirical. There is no excuse for this movie.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 60.

    It is clear that the Taliban have an incredible insecurity about their faith.
    I guess any faith allowing you to take as many wives as you want and to treat them as second class, to be able to have an eye for an eye instead of forgiveness and to have total intolerance to everyone who disagrees with them is going to prompt some sort of internal turmoil for the weakest ones who cannot rationalise.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 59.

    These Jihad types attack christians day out-day in. Do we attack their embassies? Of course not. We live in the modern world, they live somewhere in the 13th century. Though most of these "protests" seem to me as if they are an excuse to throw stones and loot from property.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 58.

    Only a tiny proportion of the Islamic world is extremist!, also all societies have people that are. So called "Muslim" extemists have the lime light but that doesn't make it ok to tarnish other Muslims with the same brush.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 57.

    These people are brainwashed from an early age to fight anyone who don`t think like them, but thankfully they are in a minority and most muslims are peaceable people.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 56.

    Firstly to the knockers of Capt Wales, if he has such an easy job, you know where your local CIO is, go and sign up.
    Secondly, the Taliban don't follow any ROE and therefore IMO neither should we, then let's see who comes out on top, because I doubt if it'll be the Taliban.

  • rate this
    +15

    Comment number 55.

    The film that these Muslims are killing people over looks to be a rouge £10k budget film that certainly, I hadn't heard of and the rest of the normal world hadn't either. I don't quite understand which Islamic loonball found the film and thought to put it in circulation around his extremist chums but he's definitely laughing. Where was the backlash from the Life of Brian? Islam, sort yourself out

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 54.

    I've just opened the first page and this is the FIRST news..Unbelievable, in 2012 there is still someone who cares about what happens to Harry, Kate or whoever, considering what's happening in the world...Wake up UK

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 53.

    The BBC is the conduit for Taliban propaganda and they very rarely publish the real everyday facts what really goes on. The BBC are the Taliban puppets and is a despicable organisation that endangers our troops daily. The daily reporting of UK casualties whilst never reporting the enemies give a false account of this war.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 52.

    43.davej311 - "The kind of people who did this are just savages, how can they claim their religion to be so great if it leads to killing of innocent people"


    I say this as a stuanch atheist, but to be fair the religion thing is just an excuse for violent thugs with ego issues to whip up "their side" against whoever they preceive to be the "other side"......

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 51.

    Non military talking rubbish on here as per usual you go and fight if you think you could do better

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 50.

    In reply to comment 10.

    The Christians were the exact same 400 years ago, Galileo said the earth went round the sun and got imprisoned. 800 years ago the crusades went round europe killing anyone that didn't believe in their faith.

    The only difference is that the west has learnt about equality and science. The rest of the world will follow in due course.

 

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