Andrew Neil says Prince Harry’s claims about Taliban will ‘haunt him’

Prince Harry’s ‘alienated his second family the military’

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Andrew Neil, 73, lashed out at Prince Harry over his claim he killed 25 Taliban while serving as an Army helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. The broadcaster predicted that the confession, made in his upcoming memoir, Spare, will “do him the most long-term damage by far.”

The This Week star claimed he doubts the royal will recover from the incendiary revelation, which has prompted fears of heightened security risks for himself and the UK.

Andrew said: “But it is the excruciating stuff about Taliban kills which will haunt him and his family for some time to come.

“It is unseemly, unnecessary and, most important of all, un-British. It amounts to a watershed in public perceptions of him, from which there is no turning back.

“Even the Americans, hitherto far more sympathetic to Harry (and Meghan) than the Brits, are turning on him.”

Andrew went on to say it was “unsavoury” of the Duke to be “proud of kills made from the world’s most advanced and sophisticated attack helicopter” when the enemy was “armed largely with Soviet-era AK47 rifles.”

In his new column for the Daily Mail, the journalist went on to accuse Harry of “breaching” the “long-standing convention” among British military veterans of all ranks that they “don’t talk much about the wars they waged, and never about ‘kills’.”

Since Harry’s alleged claims were made public,Taliban leaders have lashed out at Harry’s assertions in his new bombshell book Spare that he killed more than two dozen Taliban fighters who he regarded as “chess pieces” to be taken off the board.

One leader branded the Duke of Sussex a “loser”, while another accused the 38-year-old of “war crimes”.

Anas Haqqani took to Twitter today in the wake of the explosive claims made in the Prince’s memoir where he has, unusually for a former soldier, chosen to reveal a body count stacked up during his second tour of Afghanistan as a gunner in Apache attack helicopters.

Mr Haqqani, a leading figure in the Haqqani Network, part of the Taliban in Afghanistan, expressed his outrage at the Duke of Sussex’s comments.

He wrote on Twitter: “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.”

Writing for former British Army Commander Colonel Richard Kemp said letting it be known how many fighters he killed “will re-kindle jihadist animosity against him and incite some who want to take revenge”.

He said: “His accusation that the British Army trains its soldiers to see their enemies as ‘chess pieces’ to be swept off the board, in other words dehumanising them, will also feed into jihadist propaganda, potentially encouraging wider attacks within the UK.

“It will also be seized on by lawyers who want to prosecute British soldiers on allegations of unlawful killing and ill-treatment of enemy prisoners because it paints a picture of a military that indoctrinates its troops to act against the Geneva conventions that require enemy dead, wounded or captured to be treated with respect.”

According to an excerpt seen by the Telegraph, in his upcoming book Harry said he flew six missions which led to the “taking of human lives”.

The Duke writes that in the “era of Apaches and laptops”, he was able to say “with exactness” how many he had killed.

He wrote: “And 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.”

In episode three of the Sussexes’ Netflix series, Harry says of his military service: “Two tours in Afghanistan, flying Apache helicopters on a military base means that you grow up pretty fast.”

Harry was known as Officer Cadet Wales at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst during a 44-week training course, according to Veteran Life magazine.

After training, he received his commission as an officer in the British Army, joining the Blues and Royals.

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