Prince Harry has been accused of demeaning himself by comparing his role in the Afghan war to playing Xbox by Taliban commanders.
The Taliban leaders, who were speaking to a reporter from the Daily Telegraph from an undisclosed location, were angered by the way Prince Harry described his role as co-pilot of an Apache helicopter, in charge of its weapons systems as being like playing a computer game.
“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 I’m probably quite useful,” he said in an interview broadcast on the BBC last night.
The Telegraph says that the Prince's typically unguarded comments "could prove a headache for President Hamid Karzai, who has staked his reputation on working closely with Nato-led forces and wants the US to station troops in Afghanistan beyond the end of 2014."
The Telegraph spoke to Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, who said Prince Harry was a “coward” for speaking only after he was out of harm’s way.
From The Telegraph:
“This statement is not even worth condemning. It is worse than that,” he said by telephone from an undisclosed location.
“To describe the war in Afghanistan as a game demeans anyone – especially a prince, who is supposed to be made of better things.”
He added that it exposed the calibre of forces that Nato was able deploy.
“It shows the lack of understanding, of knowledge,” he said. “It shows they are unfamiliar with the situation and shows why they are losing.”
A commander in Helmand, where Prince Harry was based, said soldiers from dozens of countries were fighting in Afghanistan. To describe their efforts – and deaths – as part of a game was to show a lack of respect, he said.
“It’s not a game. It’s very, very real,” he said.