“So, my number is 25:” Prince Harry under fire for claiming his Taliban body count in Afghanistan

Then British Royal Army Captain (Prince) Harry Wales, and Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, Military District of Washington Commander, salute during the playing of the British and American national anthems at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., May 10, 2013. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Laura Buchta/Released)

PA Media/dpa


London — A retired British Army colonel, a senior Taliban leader and a former British national security adviser are among those criticizing Harry, the duke of Sussex, over disclosures that he killed 25 people in Afghanistan.

Colonel Tim Collins, known for a pre-battle speech he made in Iraq, said Harry has now turned against his “other family, the military.”

Anas Haqqani, Taliban leader in Afghanistan, condemned the duke for describing those he killed as “chess pieces,” but added that not many who killed Afghans “have your decency to reveal their conscience and confess to their war crimes.”

Lord Darroch, former national security adviser, said he “would have advised against” Harry revealing those details, while former commando Ben McBean told the prince to “shut up.”

It comes as the duke faces an intense backlash after writing about his time in Afghanistan in his controversial memoir, “Spare.”

Harry wrote that flying six missions during his second tour of duty on the front line in 2012 to 2013 resulted in “the taking of human lives,” of which he was neither proud nor ashamed.

The Telegraph, which obtained a Spanish language copy of the memoir from a bookshop in Spain, reports that Harry said he did not think of those he killed as people, but instead as “chess pieces” that had been taken off the board.

“So, my number is 25. It’s not a number that fills me with satisfaction, but nor does it embarrass me,” he wrote.

But Col Collins criticized Harry for making the disclosure, calling it “a tragic money-making scam.”

He told Forces News on Friday: “Amongst his assertions is a claim that he killed 25 people in Afghanistan. That’s not how you behave in the Army; it’s not how we think.”

Col Collins later added: “Harry has now turned against the other family, the military, that once embraced him, having trashed his birth family.”

He also accused Harry of taking a path that is “alien” to those in the UK and the Commonwealth, adding that the duke is “pursuing US identity politics and casting slurs or racism around where none exists.”

“I wonder whose path he has chosen? In the end I see only disappointment and misery in his pursuit of riches he does not need and his rejection of family and comradely love that he badly needs,” he said.

Haqqani tweeted on Friday: ” Mr. Harry! The ones you killed were not chess pieces, they were humans; they had families who were waiting for their return. Among the killers of Afghans, not many have your decency to reveal their conscience and confess to their war crimes. The truth is what you’ve said; Our innocent people were chess pieces to your soldiers, military and political leaders.”

Lord Darroch told Sky News on Friday that he “slightly” shared the security concerns military experts have raised after Harry’s comments.

“You have to respect all of those who fought in Afghanistan,” he said.

“I went there a number of times when I was national security adviser. It’s a really tough environment, it was a really dangerous war, we lost more than 500 British servicemen. I respect and appreciate all those who fought there.

“Personally if I’d been advising the prince, I would have advised against the kind of detail that he goes into there. But it’s out there now, and I believe it was a just war, and therefore what he has written about how he justified to himself what he was doing, I can understand and appreciate that.

“In terms of the detail, I personally wouldn’t have gone there, but it’s done now.”

©2023 dpa GmbH. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Post navigation