Prince Harry says he killed 25 people while serving in Afghanistan

Memoir recounts tours of Afghanistan and describes those killed as ‘chess pieces removed from the board’

British royal Prince Harry says in his memoir that he had killed 25 people in Afghanistan when serving as a military helicopter pilot, describing them as “chess pieces removed from the board”.

The prince’s highly personal book Spare went on sale in Spain days before its global launch on January 10th. It discloses the depth of the rift between the prince and his brother William, the heir to the throne, and other revelations such as drug-taking and how he lost his virginity.

In one section, the 38-year-old recounts his two tours of Afghanistan, first as a forward air controller in 2007/08 and again in 2012, when he was a co-pilot gunner in Apache attack helicopters, and the number of people he had killed.

“It wasn’t a statistic that filled me with pride but nor did it leave me ashamed,” Prince Harry wrote, according to the Spanish version of the book. “When I found myself plunged in the heat and confusion of combat I didn’t think of those 25 as people.


“They were chess pieces removed from the board, Bad people eliminated before they could kill Good people.”

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesperson for the Taliban-led Afghan foreign affairs ministry, criticised the comments.

“The western occupation of Afghanistan is truly an odious moment in human history and comments by Prince Harry is a microcosm of the trauma experienced by Afghans at the hands of occupation forces who murdered innocents without any accountability,” he said.

When asked about Prince Harry’s comments, a spokesperson for Britain’s ministry of defence said: “We do not comment on operational details for security reasons.”

The prince has said he saw “the red mist” in his brother, Prince William, when his older sibling allegedly attacked him during a confrontation over the younger duke’s relationship with Meghan Markle.

In a newly released clip from ITV’s forthcoming interview with Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex said his brother was so frustrated during the 2019 incident he saw “the red mist in him”.

“He wanted me to hit him back, but I chose not to,” he says of his brother, who he earlier claimed in his book had physically attacked him – as was first reported by the Guardian.

In the clip, released early on Friday morning, Harry tells the interviewer, Tom Bradby: “What was different here was the level of frustration, and I talk about the red mist that I had for so many years, and I saw this red mist in him.”

The prince first recounted the confrontation in his autobiography Spare – an extract from which was reported by the Guardian on Thursday. In the book, it is claimed the Prince of Wales grabbed Prince Harry’s collar and knocked him to the floor, ripping his necklace and shattering a dog bowl under his back.

Prince Harry also states he wants to reconcile with his family – something he says cannot happen without “some accountability”.

“I want reconciliation,” he says, “but, first, there needs to be some accountability”.

In a clip from another forthcoming interview, the prince admits he was “probably bigoted” before his relationship with Ms Markle.

In a new teaser for a CBS News interview that is due to air this Sunday, Prince Harry tells the interviewer Anderson Cooper he was “incredibly naive” about how the British media would treat his relationship with the American actor.

“The race element” to the couple’s relationship had been “jumped on straight away” by the British press, he tells the programme, adding that he had no idea how “bigoted” the UK media was until his wife and their relationship were thrust into the spotlight.

“What Meghan had to go through was similar in some part to what Kate and what Camilla went through – very different circumstances,” the prince says in the 30-second clip released on Thursday. “But then you add in the race element, which was what the press – [the] British press jumped on straight away.

“I went into this incredibly naive. I had no idea the British press were so bigoted. Hell, I was probably bigoted before the relationship with Meghan.”

Cooper responds by asking the prince: “You think you were bigoted before the relationship with Meghan?”

Prince Harry replies: “I don’t know. Put it this way, I didn’t see what I now see.”

Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace have declined to comment.

Elsewhere in the Bradby interview clip, Harry addresses the drug use detailed in his book. Bradby tells the prince: “There’s a fair amount of drugs [in the book]. Marijuana, magic mushrooms, cocaine. I mean, that’s going to surprise people.”

Harry: The Interview, will be broadcast on ITV1 and ITVX at 9pm on Sunday.

– Guardian. Additional reporting: Reuters