Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, has faced calls for prosecution in relation to the deaths of 25 Afghan fighters during his time serving in the UK military. The calls have come from both Taliban members and relatives of victims of the airstrikes carried out by British Forces.
According to a report from Sky News, Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, has also suggested that the Prince’s admission could create security risks for the Invictus Games, an event founded by Harry that helps to aid the rehabilitation of veterans.
Prince Harry served two tours in Afghanistan, including one between 2012 and 2013 in which he acted as a co-pilot gunner for Apache attack helicopters. In his recently published memoir, “Spare”, Harry reportedly admitted to killing the 25 fighters and referred to them as “chess pieces” rather than people.
Mullah Abdullah, a relative of a victim of a 2011 airstrike believed to have been carried out by British Forces, is among those calling for Harry to be put on trial.
Taliban seeks Prince Harry’s prosecution
As per the report by Sky News, Abdullah lost nine family members when his home was hit by an airstrike while he was at the market in the village of Yakhchal. He stated that he and his family are seeking “compensation for our losses” and called on the international community to put Harry on trial.
In Helmand province, where British forces were based between 2006 and 2014, a group of Taliban officials and protesters also demanded that Harry be prosecuted in an international court and punished by the international community.
Hameedullah Hameedi, a member of the provincial council in Helmand, stated that Harry’s actions were a “shame” and would have an impact on British-Afghan relations. Samiullah Sayed, deputy director of education in Helmand, called for not only Harry but all those who “invaded Afghanistan” to be held accountable for their actions.
In his book, Prince Harry wrote that the killings of the 25 Afghans “was not something that filled me with satisfaction, but I was not ashamed either”. The revelation has been described as “ill-advised” by Ellwood, who expressed concern that it could have security implications for the Invictus Games.
Ellwood stated that he was worried that the event, which has been “so important to veterans to help rehabilitation”, could suffer due to the potential security risks of Harry’s participation.