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
    +2

    Comment number 329.

    312.
    Perpetual Sigh
    6 Minutes ago

    The Islamic world was once the most progressive culture on the planet, inventing many medicines, algebra, amazing literature and so forth,
    --
    no they stole most of there scientific/medical knowledge from the Greeks
    they were only progressive in there appetite for conquering nations and enslaving the population.
    get your facts right.
    the Greeks deserve the praise

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 328.

    309. Shikasta
    The trouble with them pesky Taliban lads is - They are NOT AFRAID OF DEATH.
    --
    Mullah Omar seems to be rather cautious with his life. Bin Ladin likewise. Planting IED bombs rather than storming bases suggests they DON'T want to die.Some of the 'footsoldiers' might be brainwashed/desperate/brave enough to not fear death but their commanders aren't nearly so suicidal.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 327.

    The problem is that impressionable people, who have been made pliant targets for religious leaders whose motivations are often suspect, are whipped up into a frenzy. Given that they are also taught that death is not the end, and many of them will have a wonderful time in heaven, then they are ripe to sent off to fight and die in the leaders' own wars, whilst the leaders remain in cosy luxury.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 326.

    First of all we tell everyoneHarry is going to Afghanistan! We then let everyone what he does out there! And now they know which camp he is at. Any soldier around Harry, should be worried and want to transfer out. He is a magnet and you are putting other soldiers lives at risk because he wants to play with them. I dont know who is more stupid, the government, the army, or Harry!!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 325.

    Poor old Prince Harry! Villified for making a mistake at a party, now facing more 'flak' for putting his comrades under extra threat by being deployed to Afghanistan. The problem with The UK at present, is that it has become a video-game culture. Maybe conscription would stop many of the Princes detractors from talking out of their ar...!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 324.

    294.FIVEBOB

    You have to win the award for the most stupid comment so far. The two brave US Marines were not there to protect Harry. Harry lives with the Brits and he's probably looking after himself like the rest of our brave men and women. This attack was nothing to do with the prince, theres no way they could have planned this attack in such a short time.

  • Comment number 323.

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

  • Comment number 322.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 321.

    I've suffered from a lack of successes in my life. I'm constantly asking my two headed iPhone shaped monkey god to help me but I don't seem to get much of a response.

    If it wasn't for society mocking and Restricting my belief system, then i reckon i'd be rich and famous right about now.

  • rate this
    +32

    Comment number 320.

    Our Men and Women in the armed forces put themselves in harms way every day and everything should be done to make sure they come home safely. If there is any chance that Harrys presence increases the risk beyond what is normally expected then he should be removed not because of the risk to him but to those that he serves with.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 319.

    "Even if they kill a million of us, there are a million more of us ready to die. We never allow people to stay in our country." Quote from an Afghan merchant after the Russians invaded in the 80's. Both statements were true and they still hold today as they did when Britain invaded in 1830's, 1890's. Whatever the motives for this attack history is clearly still being overlooked.

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 318.

    The religion of tolerance at its very best.

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

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 317.

    He's been cast as Captain Wales? Surely if we were making our own version of the Avengers he'd have been a better Tony Starkers?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 316.

    Well Ive just watched the video. Yeah really offensive lol. How brainwashed are these poor bored nutters must be. Pure boredom they have nothing better to do with there lives. How many lives were lost when Monty Python Life Of Brian was screened ? I shall prepare to have my comment removed as all other daring to denounce this violence. Who is the BBC working for ?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 315.

    Who would have thought that when you joined the army you would be exposed to dangerous situations. What is this world coming to!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 314.

    As an Ex serviceman I have one comment
    He joined the forces, he knows the risks.
    Good on you Harry.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 313.

    292. Davy G
    8 MINUTES AGO
    Allowing Prince Harry to be in the front line puts our ''normal'' soldiers in greater danger.
    --
    No it doesn't. Are you seriously suggesting the Taliban aren't doing everything they can to kill as many of our guys as they can manage already? If anything directing their attention at Harry might SAVE a few of the regular squaddies (unless they're ginger..... )

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 312.

    The Islamic world was once the most progressive culture on the planet, inventing many medicines, algebra, amazing literature and so forth, while European Christians were burning women as witches because they floated or whatever.

    It's a sincere shame to see this beautiful part of the world devolved so much that a satirical film results in violence in the name of Allah.

    Such a bloody waste.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 311.

    274 Ruminations.

    Well 'Islam' doesn't seem to be 'talking about free speech' now does it? I don't care about their fairy stories. They can believe them if they're that unhinged. I want them to stop killing people.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 310.

    re274-rumination

    not sure if you have noticed but the year is 2012?what do I need to read then to enlighten me about the tolerance practised by islam in the past but don't do it now?like ur post what is the relevance of this sentence?

    maybe the ME could do a bit more research before killing themselves and us over nothing?

 

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