Friday, 3 Feb 2023

Prince Harry has ‘tarnished’ military reputation with Taliban claims

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Prince Harry has “tarnished” his previously impressive military reputation with his claim to have killed 25 Taliban fighters during his time serving in the British Army in Afghanistan, a royal commentator has claimed. Hilary Fordwich was speaking at the end of a week in which the Duke of Sussex has made daily headlines after the publication of his new memoir, Spare, which hit the bookshelves on Tuesday.

Arguably the most controversial claim related to his 10-year military career, specifically the two tours of Afghanistan, during which he said he was able to say “with exactness” how many of the enemy he had shot.

His remarks prompted significant blowback from many in the military community, with former tank commander Stuart Crawford accusing the 38-year-old of “disrespecting the dead” and of, in effect, bragging about his exploits.

Washington-based British business development consultant Ms Fordwich takes a keen interest in the Royal Family, appearing regularly appears on US television stations to discuss what they do.

She told Express.co.uk: “Whether he was boasting or not at this juncture isn’t the point. He stated the kill count, that’s a fact.

“It’s a bombshell and so shocking in light of Harry’s claim that he is concerned about the safety of his.

“His incendiary statement has increased the threat level for all Brits, the most serious ‘for 25 years since IRA’ according to Dai Davies, former Head of Royal Protection and a former Divisional Commander in the Metropolitan Police.

“Especially with the high profile of the upcoming coronation on May 6 he and others such as Lord West have said, ‘…it only takes one lone wolf.’”

There was also suggestions that the upcoming Invictus Games in Dusseldorf could even be a target for extremists, Ms Fordwich said.

She added: “Former Defence Secretary Lord Hutton has weighed as well as the Former National Security Adviser Lord Darroch saying he ‘would have advised against’ Harry offering details about his service in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile retired British Army officer, Colonel Richard Kemp had suggested “memories resurrected by those who support the Taliban are now motivated to kill Harry”, she pointed out.

Ms Fordwich continued: “Harry has also put his own popularity in further jeopardy by characterising the Army as having trained him to have thought of ‘not thinking of people but as chess pieces’ which the same military officers and leaders and categorically stated is not the case.

“The British military is trained to respect the enemy, to treat them properly so this is seen as further bad judgment by Harry.”

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Ms Fordwich continued: “Usually soldiers refrain from giving the exact numbers of those they kill. It really isn’t common to reveal the gory details of war, while there is nothing illegal about, it’s not viewed to be in very good taste by the military or others.

“What is so sad for Harry is that he was viewed by both the public and military as a rather courageous solider – he didn’t have to serve in Afghanistan, indeed he had to fight government policy to be allowed to serve.

“Being third in line to the crown, at that juncture, it was considered too much of a security risk for him to see active duty.

“His reputation was further enhanced with his founding of the Invictus Games but now his reputation is permanently tarnished.”

Writing about his time in Afghanistan, Harry says: “it seemed to me essential not to be afraid of that number. So my number is 25. It’s not a number that fills me with satisfaction, but nor does it embarrass me.”

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Speaking to Stephen Colbert earlier this week on The Late Show, Harry subsequently denied he had been boasting, accusing the UK media of twisting his words.

He said: “Without a doubt, the most dangerous lie that they have told, is that I somehow boasted about the number of people I killed in Afghanistan.

“If I heard anyone boasting about that kind of thing, I would be angry. But it’s a lie.

“It’s really troubling and very disturbing that they can get away with it… My words are not dangerous – but the spin of my words are very dangerous to my family. That is a choice they’ve made.”

Express.co.uk has contacted Prince Harry via Archewell for comment.

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