Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, is coming home from his military stint in Afghanistan, where he served as an attack helicopter pilot.
Harry, who goes by Captain Wales, told media that he killed Taliban insurgents during missions where he was asked to provide ground support as an Apache helicopter pilot. The missions also involved rescuing injured NATO and Afghan personnel, reported the Guardian.
He stressed that he was merely doing his job.
“If there’s people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we’ll take them out of the game, I suppose,” he was quoted as saying by the paper. “Take a life to save a life … the squadron’s been out here. Everyone’s fired a certain amount.”
As a helicopter pilot, Harry said, “Essentially we’re more of a deterrent than anything else,” reported the BBC. He added, “Our job out here is to make sure the guys are safe on the ground. Now if that means shooting at someone who’s shooting at them, then we’ll do it.”
The prince is the first member of the British royal family to serve in active combat since his uncle, the Duke of York, fought in the 1982 during the Falklands War, between the U.K. and Argentina.
While Harry was in Afghanistan, an Afghan warlord described him as a “jackal” who would kill innocent civilians, and put a priority on kidnapping the prince, whose base was attacked in September. It was unclear if the assault had to do with him being there, or if it coincided with unrest against the controversial “Innocence of Muslims “video.
Harry said that what inspired him to go to Afghanistan was not killing the enemy. “It’s not the reason I decided to do this job. The reason was to get back out here,” he told Reuters.
He also said he did not receive any special treatment while in Afghanistan, saying he felt more “normal” while serving in the military than as a British prince, where he has to endure heavy media scrutiny.
He said his brother, Prince William, would “love” to have been in Afghanistan, too.
“Yes, you get shot at. But if the guys who are doing the same job as us are being shot at on the ground, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with us being shot at as well. People back home will have issues with that, but we’re not special,” he said, according to the news agency.
When asked why he and his brother have a fascination for helicopters, the Guardian reported him saying, “Probably the fact that you can only fit a certain amount of people in a helicopter, therefore no one can follow us, like you guys.”
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