Taliban React to ‘Chess Pieces’ Comment on Afghanistan Deaths

This photograph taken on October 31, 2012 shows Britain’s Prince Harry doing his early morning pre-flight checks on the British-controlled flight line at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, where he was serving as Apache helicopter pilot/gunner with 662 Sqd Army Air Corps.

John Stillwell | Afp | fake images

The early release of Prince Harry’s tell-all memoir “Spare” is drawing the ire of many different sources, from loyal supporters of the monarchy to TV pundits and ordinary Brits, and most recently, the Taliban.

The long-awaited book, written in the years after Harry and his wife Meghan Markle left the British royal family, accidentally went on sale in Spain several days before its official release date.

Among the many controversial revelations in the memoir is Harry’s revelation that he killed 25 Taliban fighters while deployed to Afghanistan with the British Army.

According to excerpts from the book cited by Sky News, which obtained a copy, Harry said he did not view the wrestlers as “people” but as “chess pieces” that he was removing from the board.

“It was not something that filled me with satisfaction, but it did not make me ashamed either,” the prince wrote. CNBC has not seen or been able to obtain a copy of the book.

Taliban leader Anas Haqqani responded to the comments on Twitter, writing: “Mr. Harry! The ones you killed were not chess pieces, they were humans; they had families waiting for their return. Among the killers of Afghans, not many have the decency to reveal their conscience and confess their war crimes”.

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Haqqani added: “Our innocent people were chess pieces to their soldiers, military leaders and politicians. Still, they were defeated in that ‘game’ of black and white ‘square’.”

The Taliban regained full power over Afghanistan when the US withdrew its last troops from the country in August 2021. Since then, it has reimposed a hyper-conservative Islamic theocracy on the country, imposing violent punishments on dissidents and banning women access higher education, among other things. human rights abuses.

Prince Harry patrols the deserted town of Garmisir January 2, 2008 in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

John Stillwell | Anwar Hussein Collection/broken | Wire image | fake images

Harry served in the British Army for 10 years, earning the rank of captain. He made two tours in Afghanistan, the first in 2007-2008 as a forward air controller, and then in 2012-2013 as an attack helicopter pilot.

The Taliban leader isn’t the only one angered by Harry’s comments; The news also sparked a backlash from former members of the British Army, who largely live under a culture of not speaking openly or bragging about the lives they have taken in combat.

“Love you #Prince Harry but you need to shut up!” Ben McBean, a former Royal Marine who served with Harry in Afghanistan, wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “Makes you wonder the people he hangs out with. If he was a nice person, someone would have told him to stop by now.”

A former senior army officer who led British forces in Afghanistan in 2003, Colonel Richard Kemp, described Harry’s comments as “reckless” and even potentially dangerous.

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Harry’s words “were probably misjudged for two reasons,” Kemp said in an interview with Sky News. “One is that his suggestion that he killed 25 people will have reincited those people who wish him harm.”

Prince Harry sits in the forward cockpit of an Apache helicopter on the British-controlled flight line at Camp Bastion on October 31, 2012 in Afghanistan. Prince Harry served as an Apache helicopter pilot/gunner with 662 Sqd Army Air Corps, from September 2012 for four months to January 2013.

John Stillwell | Pool wpa | Getty Images News | fake images

The retired colonel added: “The other problem I found with his comments was that he characterized the British Army as basically having trained himself and other soldiers to see their enemy as less than human, like chess pieces on a board to be removed.” . which is not the case. It’s the opposite.”

He warned that such comments could “incite some people to attempt an attack on British soldiers anywhere in the world.”

Kensington Palace, which represents Prince William, and Buckingham Palace, which represents King Charles III, have so far refused to comment on the book and any of its claims. CNBC has reached out to a representative for Prince Harry for comment.