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
    0

    Comment number 529.

    Dear winterburn you are easily manipulted

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 528.

    i wonder how the muslims who are attacking american british german embassies, would cope if they stopped sending them the aid they receive ?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 527.

    477.Dave - "......the coming of Jesus was foretold by other prophets recorded by various scribes Jewish and Roman who gained nothing by recording them....."


    The passages you refer to are so utterly vague about who/where/when they can just as easily be attributied to being a prediction of the writing of Monty Python's The Life of Brian......

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 526.

    @insurrection2012

    Harry wants to be there so as not to waste all the money it cost to train him. This was planned a long time before those pictures came out. The Royals want to do their bit which is highly commendable, this is not a PR stunt, Harry is a soldier, he is doing his soldier job.

  • Comment number 525.

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

  • rate this
    +16

    Comment number 524.

    The film may have been awful,but it's hardly a reason to kill people and burn embassies over. Jewish people are always been mocked in the media,but their self depreciative and easy going nature means they take idiocy with a pinch if salt. If Muslims want to prove to the world they are a peaceful religion,they are failing misreably,because as it seems,unless it's kissing their feet,it's anti Muslim

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 523.

    Breaking news: Prince Harry on Planet Earth during Islamic protests!

  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 522.

    I am fedup with comments about the press advertising the fact that Harry is over there. He was sent there to take the heat off his Las Vegas fiasco and for everyone to say how brave he is hence the publicity.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 521.

    What surprises me is that his deployment was made so publicly this time. Requiescat in Pacem to the deceased marines.

  • rate this
    +18

    Comment number 520.

    I am so angry at my truthful comments being removed from this debate, that I am going to storm the BBC Media City in Salford and protest.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 519.

    Where is their sense of humour, I dont recall murders after the life of Brian was released

  • rate this
    +20

    Comment number 518.

    487.
    ruminations
    13 Minutes ago

    Mabye the ignorant could look at the Constitution of Medina...as one example of religious tolerance..
    ==
    glad you mentioned Medina

    In AD 627, Muhammad committed an atrocity against the last remaining major tribe of Jews in Medina: the Qurayza.

    He beheaded the men and the pubescent boys and enslaved the women and children.

    religious tolerance eh?

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 517.

    Why are so many US citizens so against the Muslim Islam ethical people?
    They watch too much news channels that indicts them as their enemy,
    Why have they been conditioned that way by the Power of the press and news channels?
    Since 9/11 we have seen so much change that the US and their puppets (Our Government) and many others would like to go to War with extremists but forgot about their faith

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 516.

    I respect the values Islam represents, but it seems to me the mob are VERY easily stirred up by the extremists, and it brooks no criticism. A MODERN Christian would not riot and kill simply because of a silly film and a minister saying so. It is time the West realizes that our Values and freedoms do not fit in the Muslim world. A look at the guests in our own houses maybe in order.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 515.

    It beats me why Harry didn't train as a helicopter pilot and went to work for the UN or UNHCR in delivering aid supplies to countries who are slaughtering each other in the name of religion and/or dictatorships.

    No, he joins the army as a commissioned officer, and goes to Afghanistan. Why?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 514.

    We have enough to deal with in Afghanistan without adding this royal. Fine, have a career in the army but don't cause unnecessary problems or risk to anyone else. This is just selfishness. Don't pretend you are one of us. If you are, then you won't mind if we take away all the luxury and privileges you enjoy? No, I thought not. Can't we ever say no to the royals?

  • Comment number 513.

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

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 512.

    235.steve1955 said ..."the media can do their bit by not always saying muslim in reporting these acts"

    Except, they ARE Muslim, so it's relevant. You actually prefer the media to suppress the truth about that? No, it'd be censorship of the worst kind.

    (Like being deltd for putting Jesus! Cos the BBC now think it's offensive - & that's rich in view of what they show as entertainment sometimes!)

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 511.

    Well the Taliban would say this attack was to get Harry, wouldn't they. The camp is huge and the changes of attacking near HRH were pretty small. The Taliban are quite happy to waste a few of their men to make a political statement. It says a lot about them.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 510.

    The Military are putting soldiers at risk so that Harry can make retribution for his recent exploits in the US. Projecting him as war Hero rather than boorish party animal is both transparent and very indulgent of the Establishment, but then of course we 'subjects' have always been dispensable when it comes to defense of the realm.

 

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