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
    +11

    Comment number 589.

    The islamic religion seems to be a dysfunctional one - other religions stopped killing "infidels" (non-believers) centuries ago.

    It is rooted in the past.

    It has no chance whatsoever of becoming accepted as a religion of "peace" until it stops Jihads and declaring war on the rest of us - and using any stupid excuse for fantatic thugs to carry out barbaric acts in defence of a prophet.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 588.

    Harry shouldn't be out there, its far too dangerous for any member of our royal family.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 587.

    Surely putting any high profile figure on active service will increase the threat to those around that person. In UK we get a Royal Visit the area is full of Police, why because there is seen to be a threat, there is more of a threat in a conflict zone, especially to all those around him. His deployment should have been kept quiet until his return

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 586.

    History has shown that when Americans fail to win in other peoples civil wars, they run away and leave their former allies to their fate.

    The Taliban know this and this is why they will ultimately win.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 585.

    People bemused about the outrage the film has caused: try and think of something that offends you and imagine something making a movie about it targeting your sensibilities. Could be anything. I don't know. I almost got beaten up once by a mob of fellow West Ham fans because I dared say Di Matteo did a good job at Chelsea. Go figure.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 584.

    The film itself is very badly made and like the cartoons in Denmark wouldnt make any impression at all except for the fact radicals and even liberals alike in the islamic world have seized upon it to drive a wedge between themselves and the rest of the world . Its rule by propaganda and creating an enemy , the west . Why did we bother at all with helping the arab or muslim world ?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 583.

    565.
    ommadawn2000


    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.


    - WHY? - Do you know them?

  • Comment number 582.

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

  • Comment number 581.

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

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 580.

    We just have to accept these lunatics with a distorted interpretation of the Koran will continue to destabaize the region until we leave, then once we have left they will go and ply their trade somewhere else and we will be back to square one.
    So it is important that whilst Capt Wales is there in his Apache, he does his best - aim straight and true, Well Done Harry you are a bloody hero!

  • Comment number 579.

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

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 578.

    545.
    ruminations
    13 Minutes ago

    518 Dave...
    You just wating for someone to mention Medina ?...Curious..
    Looking at the Charter of Medina ?..Its hard to deny he implemented many reforms that were centuries ahead of pagans here ...eh !.
    =
    the celts (pagans)were way ahead of that charter
    they looked after their prisoners and revered the women of their tribe
    and much more
    according to Roman writings

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 577.

    We are witnessing one group of people's "offence" becoming more important than that of others. More fool us if we allow this to become the norm. No person or group's sensibilities are more (or less) important than another's. The mark of a strong religion/society/race is that it is tolerant and does not need knee-jerk over-reactions.

  • Comment number 576.

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

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 575.

    @insurrection2012

    You haven't got a clue about how much a soldier is paid while in Afghanistan. Your statement of a third is a joke. Harry is in Afghanistan doing his job, that is the only reason he is there! A military reason!

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 574.

    From Morocco to Egypt we are now bordered by islamic states , whatever money we give them , support , lives we saved in Benghazi and Libya , pressure put on Mubarak etc was it worth it ? and would it be worth helping the people of Syria ? My heart says yes but my mind says no and I have yet to see any argument that says Islam is compatible with western values , we have a problem simmering .

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 573.

    Here is an idea, pull all our troops, diplomats, Ngo staff etc out of the Islamic countries. Cut all aid off, and all business and transport links. They can then live happily without having to worry about low budget films about a their prophet. Am I racist?, NO, Killing anyone who disagree's with your religion is. It is time for the PC Multicultural charade to end. It is a two way street.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 572.

    536.BobG - "......The silence is so far deafening"

    No it's not - you are just expecting it to be served up to you on a plate on a website, rather than going out & talking to some real Muslims, in person.

    Friday is Islam's equivalent of Chritianity's Sunday - go to a local Mosque & hear what is said at Friday prayers next week......

  • Comment number 571.

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

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 570.

    Now we're seeing why these countries were ruled under an iron fist, they needed to keep the [lovely people carrying out these peaceful protests]* in check. Perhaps we should reanimate Gaddafi, oust the Muslim Brotherhood and say sorry to Assad?

    *Edited for sensitivity.

 

Page 14 of 43

 

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