Prince Harry Confirmed Target In Deadly Taliban Attack; Would Moving Him Be 'Triumph' For Taliban?

 @jiillx
on September 17 2012 12:39 PM
Prince Harry
Prince Harry gives a photographer a thumbs-up at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, where he arrived Friday for a four-month tour of duty. Reuters

Prince Harry has been revealed as the intended target of a deadly attack on a British military base in Afghanistan by the Taliban on Saturday that lasted more than five hours, but he will likely not be removed from his post, according to a report by the Daily Mail.

Military officials at Camp Bastion, where the Prince of Wales is stationed as an Apache helicopter pilot, were shocked, when 19 Taliban fighters armed with AK-47 automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades conducted a surprise attack on the military base that left two U.S. Marines dead, reported the Telegraph.

According to some reports, insurgents were able to breach the outside of the "impregnable" base after a suicide bomber blew a five foot wide hole in the perimeter fence.

According to a coalition statement, the deadly assault, in which 17 of the Taliban attackers were killed, damaged military buildings and as many as five aircraft. Shortly afterward, a spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, claimed credit for the attack, citing the anti-Islam video "Innocence of Muslims" as motivation, and adding that Prince Harry was their intended target.

"There are many other foreign bases ... but we stormed this one because of Prince Harry's presence there," said Mujahid.

"We attacked that base because Prince Harry was also on it, and so they can know our anger," added Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi. "Thousands more suicide attackers are ready to give up their lives for the sake of the Prophet."

Several British airmen were also wounded in the gun battle, but according to the Daily Record, the Prince was immediately rushed away to a fortified safe room 400 yards away by Britain's Special Air Services bodyguards.

"There was no messing about. Harry was taken straight to the safe place as soon as the alarm went off," said an insider at Camp Bastion. "The whole camp was locked down. All troops including Harry had to stay in their - accommodation wearing full body armor and were armed."

"He was prepared for the fight but had to follow the plan," said the source, adding, "If anything happened to him, it would have been disastrous."

But in an interview with the BBC, former British Prime Minister Sir John Major said that the army should not rush to withdraw the Prince from Afghanistan, as it would give the Taliban a "propaganda triumph."

"Prince Harry trained with his colleagues. He will wish to serve with his colleagues. He most emphatically would not wish to move. It would be a huge propaganda triumph for the Taliban if Prince Harry were to be moved."

Colonel Bob Stewart, who commanded British troops in Bosnia, echoed Major's sentiments, saying "To hell with them. Harry wants to go there and our soldiers want him there. He should stay."

Major Charles Heyman, a former British infantry officer, agreed saying that removing Harry would be "playing into the hands of the Taliban."

"If we take him away the Taliban will crow that they have just scored a major victory," warned Heyman. "The second point is, it would affect the morale of the troops on the ground if Prince Harry was taken out just because there was a threat."

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