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 609.

    588.
    Jonathan Halling Politics graduate

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

    - Is Harry a member of the Royal family? - I didn't know this!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 608.

    This film is a rather odd attempt at satire. Seriously, I wonder how many of the mob members have actually seen it?

    They should watch Fitna (is that allowed to be mentioned?) which is a truly cutting film.


    As to Islam, be afraid, be very afraid.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 607.

    To mitigate or help resolve this dangerous situation, the video, The Innocence of Muslims must be immediately withdrawn from the internet. After his naked pictures, Prince Harry is given wider publicity about his Afganistan deployment. Even his exact location for 4 months has been revealed! Should anything happen to the prince, the blame will fall squarely on the shoulders of the MOD.

  • rate this
    -10

    Comment number 606.

    571. gorlestongirl1
    So the muslims can crash planes into building, blow up buses and trains, insult the west on a regular basis, but the west may not joke about their religion?
    /////
    Erm, they do that BECAUSE people joke about their religion. Their religion is not a joke to them. You have something that isn't a joke to you either. Tell me what it is and I'll make a sick joke a day about it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 605.

    When are members of the press going to get prison sentences handed out to them? Journalists and Editors are scum in my book....Piers Morgan...he should be the first!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 604.

    I think this film was just a ''lightning rod'' for the anti-west sentiment that we have been cultivating over there along with our buddies the Americans

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 603.

    Afghanistan is a waste of British time, British tax-payers money, and British lives.
    The man-in-the-street knew that years ago. Why can't politicians see?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 602.

    578 Dave..

    In truth it was a throwaway, disengenious line of mine, aimed at those who view Muslims as a whole as unethical. lacking morality and overidingly wanting peace and respect..

    No balanced observer could argue otherwise..

    Yup..the Celts were ok...ish...considering the times..

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 601.

    569. Steve Green
    The film makers have done far less damage to Islam, than Islam has done to itself this week.
    //////
    Spot on. The damage they have done to the US and the rest of the West verges on betrayal though. Every person that dies in these riots is blood on their hands. Ironically, their motivation for the film was their own religion.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 600.

    560.Little_Old_Me
    28 Minutes ago
    532.JUANCOLINA

    Do you seriously believe that Islam is any more violent than Chrisitanity )...?
    -----------

    NO I don't believe it I KNOW it. The evidence is all around you.

    Islam is acting like the the Catholic inquisition did centuries ago.
    The problem all of us is that Islam is using modern weapons.
    Stop pretending innocence - you can't win.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 599.

    @312.Perpetual Sigh

    "The Islamic world was once the most progressive culture on the planet…, while Christians were burning witches"

    Lack of knowledge of history. Christians burned witches in middle-ages. Thousands years earlier the Greeks developed medicine, culture, etc. Romans followed. Then the Byzantium flourished (Religious-based Christian Greek Empire). Islam then copied...

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 598.

    it really is time we left these countries to their own devices. No matter how much it will hurt!!

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 597.

    Vitriolic attacks on catholic church OK , criticisms of all thing muslim , moderation queue . Is it any wonder people get angry with the BBC for stifling freedom of speech and editing the views of people here .

    I think by and large the people of this country are concerned with the growth of islamic extremism here and abroad and the fact we let so many muslims into this country .

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 596.

    Religions wants us back in the dark ages, intolerance and hatred are the only things it seems to preach.

  • Comment number 595.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 594.

    @554 'tonep'
    ~~
    Yes, I absolutely appreciate and fully understand your point about prince Andrew serving during the Falkland conflict to protect British territory and British citizens from invasion.

    In summary. Harry, as a member of the royal family serving in Afghanistan is not the same, by any stretch of the imagination - nor can it be compared to the Falklands. Regards, coram.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 593.

    549: Soldiers in Afghanistan are not fighting Al Qaeda anymore It's the Taliban/People who's families have been murdered by Allied troops and like any nation invaded will fight, See If Britain were to be invaded what might occur! Your Christian against Muslim rhetoric makes me think that every follower of a religion are thin-skinned over reactors who prey to deities as real as Mickey Mouse.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 592.

    I smell a rat here. I was wondereing when we would have a news story about a Harry threat after the media has really pushed out Harrys whereabouts last week in suspicious detail. I think there may well be a dodgy undercurrent about this and the public are being taken for muppets. One to watch.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 591.

    I have no idea how Prince Harry is getting on in Afghanistan and I wish the media would desist in reporting about it until he is home - thus keeping him and his fellow soldiers safe.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 590.

    Once again our press puts our soldiers at risk by telling the enemy that Harry is in their territory and therefore a target, I,m glad they didnt know about the D day landings.
    As for the offence to Islam can we do the same in defence of Christianity without be called bigots? The biggest weapon of mass destruction is indoctrination of the mind, and Mullahs are doing that very thing.

 

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