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
    +3

    Comment number 389.

    I agree wiith shoegirl. Harry is a serving soldier and is content to run the same risks as his comrades. To imply, as I have heard from the media, that this is a 'PR Disaster' is pure hype. Bastion was attacked because the Taliban detecred a chink ih the defences, and exploited it.

  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 388.

    369. Fairbairn Sykes
    Sinister words. The trailer I watched seemed to be a fairly accurate depiction of what Christian Copts go through with their Muslim neighbours.
    //////
    It's the makers of that video that are sinister, not my words. So, you have first hand experience then? I am pretty sure they don't. I have friends in Cairo - Arabic, European, Muslim and Christian. You lot don't have a clue.

  • rate this
    +20

    Comment number 387.

    Here we go again, muslims on the rampage because of the offence caused by film hardly anyone has seen. In the West we have free speech and you can ridicule the ridiculous. A religion that thinks it's ok to chop off people's heads for singing and dancing is a danger to all of us and needs to be challenged.

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 386.

    If someone insults Jesus. What do we do? Not much. If someone insults Muhammad. What do Muslims do? Riot. And Muslims are supposed to be a peaceful religion.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 385.

    BBC: Prince attacked at Afghan base
    NATO: Prince never in any danger

    I know BBC is trying to dumb down and compete with The Sun, but this is getting ridiculous.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 384.

    These attacks and demonstrations in the name of a fictitous god are offensive to the common decency and rationale of normal sane people. Is it not about time the rational members of our society declare war on religion in all its form and put these mind bending twisted beliefs to bed once and for all. Maybe the human race can then progress with important and relevant issues that really challenge us

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 383.

    It is inevitable that there will be a clash of civilizations. This is just another of the opening skirmishes.

    The Islamic world will always be at odds with western values. The replacement of autocratic regimes has given their people a voice and they choose religious leaders.

    The west has a major disadvantage....Islamic cultures protect themselves from western culture. We have accepted them.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 382.

    Our dolders' lives put at risk just because the queen's grandson wants to play war games. He should keep to strip pool.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 381.

    By publicising Harry's deployment the media has served to put Harry's & his colleagues in more danger. Thanks British media for being so concerned about protecting people's lives.

    It's about time we got the hell out of Afghan, they don't want us there & we're serving no useful purpose by occupying their country.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 380.

    I`ve read a lot of the comments, some attacking moslems for having faith in God, but I can`t see how having a faith in God is any dafter than believing that "Royalty" are more special than any other human beings.
    Why is the nude prince special?

  • Comment number 379.

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

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 378.

    @the-moog

    Did I say it was brave? Many suicide bombings ARE carried out by mentally unstable people who have been convinced that they'll earn a place in Paradise etc. I am not equating bravery with the fear or the lack of fear of death, just saying that those Taliban fighters are not AFRAID of death, and that is one reason why this war can't be won by the US and its allies.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 377.

    Harry is no more than a 'plastic' soldier: put there as a figurehead to ensure his class is still seen as part of the old feudal aristocratic fighting 'elite', giving him a free career for life. The BBC should have some respect for the real soldiers: the men and women who really do put their life on the line for UK governments and don't expect their names to be sensationalised in this fashion.

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 376.

    @307 ruminations
    Yup...fair enough..civilsations (sic) evolve and change...
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Given that people have been murdered due to a film they had no involvement in, 'evolve' isn't really relevant.

    I've no wish to criticise Islam but the silent, peace loving majority of Muslims are always VERY silent. Are they afraid too?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 375.

    344. the-moog
    Don't be a coward!
    //////
    Don't be a bully. You remind me of those nasty German officers in bad WW2 movies.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 374.

    It has always been traditional for the Royals and the gentry to take their chances with the rest is wars. You win the prize, so noblesse oblige and all that. Good luck to him.
    I hope the people who chose the US to make this deliberately agitational film rather than in their own adopted country, are proud of the deaths they have caused. It doesn't help their case at all.

  • rate this
    +87

    Comment number 373.

    So much time spent at the start of the news talking about one soldier who is safe and well and so little time on a soldier who lost his life... I'm sure that Prince Harry would agree!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 372.

    Barroso says "[against] the rules of the civilised world."

    All they know is that mysterious "rules of the civilised world" make them poorer while foreigners and their local cronies get rich from squandered resources. Religion is a false but simple flag under which they'll rally and we'll agree to their destruction out of failure to comprehend their frustration.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 371.

    Hello UK media??? Did you ever think that, by not publicising his presence in Afghanistan, you might actually HELP him and his colleagues to stay alive?
    The "enemy" is likely to step up their campaign if there is a chance they can harm such a public figure, so well done for handing them the intelligence on a plate. Whose side are you on again? Doh!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 370.

    Type Muhammad into search engine. I did, and found that Wikipedia has a long and comprehensive list of this man's long life and the complex area of the world in which he lived in those times.

    It would appear that the complexity continues, yet still focused on 'tribal' differences. As a species, globally, we have so much information available today on past mistakes, yet fail to learn from it.

 

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