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

    Comment number 349.

    299. Vampire
    The film itself is a joke...if you look at it you wonder how anyone can take this seriously.
    Yes, they should have asked Leni Riefenstahl to make it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 348.

    The 'anti-Islamic' film and the media coverage Prince Harry is getting about being in Afghanistan is just adding fuel to the fire of anti-Western emotions. Whilst we cannot control their reactions, spreading the word that a member of the Royal Family is in Afghanistan will do nothing but stimulate even more action against our troop, and put everyone in unecessary danger.

  • rate this

    Comment number 347.

    How did they know it was him he must have had his clothes on? How do you know it was Kate she must have had her clothes on? When you send a clown you jeopardise professional soldiers I suggest this fool stay good at what he's used to rolling around Hotels & wine bars shouting Granny where's my Butler? Whatever Camaclown & his merry bunch of milllionaires are up to I bet the Welsh will pay for it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 346.

    He's a soldier fighting in a warzone and I'm sure he wants to be treated as such. Why should his life be considered more valuable than the two US marines killed?

  • rate this

    Comment number 345.

    #329 Ever heard of Alexander the Great? Praising the Greeks and badmouthing muslims for invading other countries is a bit rich!

    You're also incorrect on your other claims. Greek science was pretty dodgy (we are not all made of fire earth air & water). The muslim world got most of its astrology from the pre-muslim cultures in the mid east (Babylonians etc) not the west.

  • Comment number 344.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 343.

    It is all great that he is a true soldier and loving it etc.. But if his presence increases the risks for the other solidiers as seems to be the case he should not stay. Not for his safety but for the safety of his comrades. According to various foreign information sites the Talibans are determined to kill him and this was actually the motive for the attack on Camp Bastion, not the film.

  • rate this

    Comment number 342.

    Whilst I applaud Harry for his braveness & willingness there is another aspect of his tour that has to be taken into consideration. That is that merely by his presence there and the Taliband's wish to kill him, he is putting his comrades at a higher risk eg. attacks on the compound will be more frequent and deadly.

  • Comment number 341.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 340.

    He has private Ryan syndrome, he can't be properly used on the front line, he will never be sent into a serious hot zone when our troops need all the helicopters we can get. They need to ditch all this special treatment, we used to have kings that would lead attacks. Taliban are scum, its time they were smashed to bits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 339.

    Lots of Islamic leaders and groups have released statements defending free speech..

    Lots of other religious groups have released statements denouncing the You Tube video..

    No excuses for the ignorant. or naive..

  • Comment number 338.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 337.

    300.Migster said "He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy!"

    lol Been waiting for that one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 336.

    316 You had the benefit of being educated in a western democracy where multiple views and tolerance are valued, your education freely given. These people grew up mostly under dictatorships funded by the west who did not provide much education to most of its population and the only education on offer was given by intolerant ideologues. Under those conditions you would be the same, as would I.

  • rate this

    Comment number 335.

    Why do people keep on taunting Muslims? Even on this HYS there is people who just can't leave it alone. Funnily enough, if you mock Islam by being sarcastic about the "religion of peace", they probably don't care. Then again, we live in a country were football supporters still mock Liverpool by singing about Hillsborough etc. Who are you lot to take the moral highground?

  • rate this

    Comment number 334.

    Well, the-moog

    no fear of death and bravery are not necessarily the same thing, are they? You can be afraid and brave at the same time ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    About time the West woke up. Pull out and leave these vile savages to their own devices.
    It beggars belief that innocent people are slaughtered because of a film.......heaven help us if anybody gave dear old Mo the prophet the Life of Brian treatment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 332.

    In UK we counter protest extremists.

    To Muslims who are stating that these murdering barbarians don't represent true Islamic faith - If this is true and you don't like what they're doing, PLEASE get out there and counter protest against them! Perhaps then people across the globe will be more willing to believe that Islam is the religion of peace.

    Unfortunately, the silence is deafening...

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.

    'Prince Harry at Camp Bastion during Taliban attack'
    So were a lot of other troops!

  • rate this

    Comment number 330.

    I think this "Innocence of Islam" film has proven one thing - there are a small minority of people who claim to be "Muslim" who are nothing but a bunch of hateful, warmongering lunatics.

    They use their religion to justify their pathetic need for vindication and violence. It's as if they look for excuses everywhere to kill.

    I feel sorry for the 99.9% of peaceful muslims...


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