Taliban fury at Prince Harry

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Good evening. There is concern that the Duke of Sussex’s revelations about his time in Afghanistan may increase the threat level towards him. We have the latest as the Taliban responded to Harry’s disclosure that he killed 25 fighters while deployed in the country as a helicopter pilot. But, first, the headlines.

Evening briefing: Today’s essential headlines

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The big story: Concern over Afghanistan revelation

Harry’s disclosure that he killed 25 people during his deployment as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan has led to heightened concern over his safety.

 Lord Darroch, former national security adviser, said he would not have advised Harry to go into “the kind of detail” included in the memoir. 

Speaking to Sky News, he said: “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. I believe it was a just war and therefore what he has written about how he justified to himself what he was doing, I understand and appreciate that but in terms of the detail, I personally wouldn’t have gone there but it’s done now.”

 In the book, Harry describes how, in “the din and confusion of combat”, he saw the insurgents he killed as “baddies eliminated before they could kill goodies”. He says it is not possible to take someone’s life “if you see them as a person”, but that the Army had “trained me to ‘other’ them and they had trained me well”.

Harry has long been considered an Islamic terrorist target due to his two prior deployments to Afghanistan. Last year, Harry’s barrister said he “does not feel safe” when he is in the UK. 

Harry also took legal action over a Home Office decision to stop providing full police protection for him while he is in the country following his decision to step back from royal duties in 2020. 

Andrew Neil, the chairman of the Spectator magazine, commented on the “nightmare” security implications of the book’s disclosure.

Taliban fury

The Taliban, who returned to power in Afghanistan last August, have reacted with fury to the statements. Khalid Zadran, the Taliban’s police spokesman in Kabul, said: “Prince Harry will always be remembered in Helmand – Afghans will never forget the killing of their innocent countrymen.” 

Harry writes in his book that part of his reason for feeling no guilt about taking lives, is that he never forgot being in the television room at Eton watching news coverage of the 9/11 attacks on New York, and later meeting the families of victims of the attacks on visits to America. 

He describes those responsible for the attacks and their sympathisers as “enemies of humanity” and says fighting them was an act of vengeance for one of the worst crimes in human history.

‘Red mist’ claim

There were also more details today on the alleged physical confrontation between the royal brothers. In a new trailer for ITV’s forthcoming interview, Harry said the level of frustration he saw in his brother during the alleged incident was “different”. 

He tells host Tom Bradby: “What was different here was the level of frustration, and I talk about the red mist that I had for so many years, and I saw this red mist in him.” Harry adds: “He wanted me to hit him back, but I chose not to.” Here are the 11 key revelations from the bombshell book.

Comment and analysis

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