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
    +9

    Comment number 569.

    The film makers have done far less damage to Islam, than Islam has done to itself this week.

  • Comment number 568.

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

  • rate this
    -15

    Comment number 567.

    Always amazing how the HYS comments of otherwise prim, proper middle class white brits reveal underlying stereotypes and prejudices.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 566.

    To all those saying Harry is there to counter the Las Vegas photos are just crazy. It was announced in the press 3 months ago that Harry was going back to Afghanistan well before he went to Vegas!! You think the Army would rearrange all its plans in 1 week to combat naked photos? Who cares about a young guy getting naked at a party, a guy in his 20s being naked while drunk is not special at all!!!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 565.

    550.turnaware
    Amuses me that every time such a story comes out we get people who have never met them claiming deep insight into the people behind the roles, and into their characteristics and motivations. Do you know them? Or even know how royalty as an institution works?

    My thoughts and condolence go to the families of the dead and injured.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 564.

    A quick search on the Internet will find dozens of films that mock all religions.together with dozens supporting religions. So why do followers of the Religion of Peace,go on the rampage? Why do followers of the Religion of Peace Kill? Perhaps someone could give me an Intelligent answer.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 563.

    Yet again the focus on prince Harry when someone elses son has been killed,even the newspapers relegate news of our casualties to a small reference inside while the headlines are more concerned with the royal baps.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 562.

    Could you now tell us in which part of the camp Prince Harry sleeps and his daily scedual for the next 7 days. It would be nice to know these things. OH! I'm sure the Taliban has no interest what so ever! He would be the LAST person on earth they would want to harm!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 561.

    The royal family are supposed to be neutral or apolitical. If they wish to be trained in the armed services then so be it.

    They have a more important and diplomatic/charitable role to play in the world.

    William is working in air/sea rescue. However, Harry should not be involved in armed conflict - thus taking sides in an ever troubled world. I'm sorry if this offends Harry supporters.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 560.

    532.JUANCOLINA

    Do you seriously believe that Islam is any more violent than Chrisitanity (or any other monothestic relgion come to that)...???

    If you do you are sadly deluded - or are simply misrepresenting the truth. Some Muslims are fanatics, but so are some Chrtistans et al too....no one religion is more or less violent than any other....

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 559.

    I find it difficult to understand why, not just Prince Harry was put in danger by allowing him to go to Afghanistan but all the other troops who are going to be in a more dangerous position. He may be a serving soldier but troops are going to be killed because Prince Harry is such a high profile target. Of course the Taliban will go all out to get him, what a trophy!

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 558.

    I watched a youtube video last month ,it showed a report that was aired on TV in the middle east,it showed a young lad bound hand and foot being held on the ground
    I could not understand the dialogue but i recognised the phrase god is great
    a poster explained the dialogue
    the lad was Christian and would not renounce Christianity so they cut his head off with a large knife,
    religious tolerance no

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 557.

    The world would be so much better without religion.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 556.

    erm... and? so were loads of other soldiers!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 555.

    Sensationalist BBC headline as usual. Camp Leatherneck is quite a way from the part of Bastion where Harry is likely to be. The BBC didn't report rocket attacks on me at Bastion when I was there!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 554.

    I recall some of the same cynical arguments flying around when Andrew was in the Falklands on Invincible, whilst carrying out anti-submarine warfare,acting as an exocet missile decoy and rescuing people from Atlantic Conveyor. It seems that the only respect a royal can achieve for their military service, is when it becomes posthumous. Sad really.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 553.

    526.
    Steveramsfan

    "Harry wants to be there so as not to waste all the money it cost to train him."

    - Very conscientious of him. I guess he values OUR money doesn't he? - £5000 per night to stay in a Hotel! (This equated to a third of the annual salary of a regular troop!)

    - all in it together!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 552.

    @Fahim

    Muslims are torturing and spilling blood of fellow muslims. Iraq, Syria etc. Muslims are not just the innocent victims and the West are not the innocent victims either. Fundamentalists and extremists from all religions and stupid politicians on all sides are the problem, the majority want peace and all religions should try to remove extremists from within They shouldnt attack each other!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 551.

    536. BobG

    So let's listen out to the Imams from around the world condemning these attacks made in the name of Islam. The silence is so far deafening.


    Well yes, but they find it far more convenient to let the West do the apologizing. They actually stand up for the wishes of the people.

    That's why we are losing and the Brotherhoods are on the march....

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 550.

    People are saying that Harry wouldn't want any of his fellow soldiers to be injured. I am sure that is true at one level, he is not a bad person. But unfortunately he is selfish and comes from a family and parents, it is sad to say, who are used to getting their needs provided without question. I really hope he, or the royal image machine, is not doing it to counter his bad press in Las Vegas.

 

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