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A throwaway comment by Prince Harry inspired the ire of the Taliban, during the young prince's second tour of Afghanistan.
Harry welcomed cameras into his camp in the Helmand province in 2012, and while giving a tour of his barracks, stumbled across two comrades playing the popular video game, FIFA.
Asked how he was handling operating military weapons, he then made the tongue-in-cheek comment that was to land him in trouble.
He said it was 'a joy' handling the weapons, adding: "I'm one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox. So with my thumbs I like to think I’m probably quite useful….You can ask the guys I thrash in FIFA all the time."
The throwaway comment sparked a backlash and, unusually, even drew a stinging response from the Taliban, reports The Mirror.
After the interviews were broadcast, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s spokesman, said Harry was a 'coward' for only speaking after he was out of harm’s way.
“To describe the war in Afghanistan as a game demeans anyone, especially a prince, who is supposed to be made of better things,” he said.
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Back home, the interview was also seized upon by commentators, with Harry Mount writing in The Telegraph that while Army officers may speak casually in such terms, the young solider needed to remember that he was also third-in-line to the throne at the time.
"He isn’t like other soldiers, much as he'd like to be," he wrote.
Harry's remarks were also described as an "unnecessary own goal" after he said that Apache helicopter pilots were often required to "take a life to save a life".
A senior officer told The Telegraph: “No one in the Army, especially an officer, should be so dismissive about taking life.
"I saw the interviews and thought 'why did you say that?’. He clearly has not learnt to engage brain before mouth.”
Prince Harry served two tours in Afghanistan, the 2012 tour and another, in 2008. Per the royal family's website, he served in the army for a total of ten years and rose to the rank of Captain.
The prince's first tour in 2008 was conducted in secret, with the British press agreeing to a blackout on reporting.
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- Prince Harry
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