Following the Taliban*
control of Afghanistan after the US and NATO’s military exit from the country, the media recalls how the Islamist group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid once branded Prince Harry a “coward” after he compared operating weaponry systems in the war-torn country to playing video games.
The royal’s remark
during his second deployment to Afghanistan, which he completed in January 2013 after 20 weeks of duty. During the tour, Harry was visited by journalists in his camp in Helmand province, where soldiers were filmed playing FIFA during their free hours.
In the interview that coincided with Prince Harry’s departure from the camp, the future Duke of Sussex told journalists that it was a “joy” for him to serve as an Apache attack helicopter gunner – because it was like playing video games.
“It’s a joy for me because I’m one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox, so with my thumbs I like to think that I’m probably quite useful,” the royal claimed.
AP Photo / John Stillwell
He also admitted to interviewers that he had killed people during the deployment: “Take a life to save a live.”
His frivolous remarks sparked outrage from the Taliban, who
the prince a “coward” for speaking so casually about the conflict, especially as he was about to head home.
“This statement is not even worth condemning. It is worse than that,” Mujahid told media back in 2013 by phone.
“To describe the war in Afghanistan as a game demeans anyone – especially a prince, who is supposed to be made of better things.”
According to Mujahid, the royal’s comments showed “a lack of understanding, of knowledge” by the Western
to the region:
“It shows they are unfamiliar with the situation and shows why they are losing.”
As Prince Harry’s deployment to Helmand was just beginning, the Taliban spokesman
that the group was using all its strength “to get rid of him, either by killing or kidnapping.”
AFP 2021 / JOHN STILLWELL
The duke managed to survive his mission and return safely to the UK before stepping down as a senior royal to live in the US with his wife, former actress Meghan Markle.
As the Taliban captured Kabul on Sunday after the US and NATO troops left the country after 20 years of military engagement, Harry and Meghan
issued a joint statement
to convey “many layers of pain” they were feeling about the development. The usually very outspoken couple said that they were “speechless.”
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other countries