Prince Harry has been a fixture over the past two weeks as the quasi-royal does the press rounds to promote his new memoir Spare.
One of the most disturbing details the Duke of Sussex shared in his book concerns his time as a soldier in Afghanistan. Prince Harry served ten years in the war in Afghanistan, starting in 2007, and eventually rose to the rank of captain in the British Army. On his second deployment, he flew Apache helicopters.
In Spare, Prince Harry has revealed he killed 25 people in Afghanistan – all members of the Taliban, he claimed. He called his victims “chess pieces removed from a chessboard, the bad guys eliminated before killing the good guys”, and said he was not “ashamed” of his actions because he had been conditioned by the army to feel nothing.
“You can’t kill people if you see them as people,” he wrote. “They trained me in ‘others’, and they trained me well.”
In a highly publicized appearance Tuesday night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbertthe host awkwardly quizzed Harry on the controversial passage.
“Another strange thing about this is that it’s not new. Here’s an article from – I believe it’s from Reuters — from ten years ago describing that you killed Afghan insurgents, the Taliban, on sorties,” Colbert offered.
“Almost ten years to the day, my face made headlines because someone asked me the question, while I was still in Afghanistan, if I had killed someone from a helicopter in attack. And I said ‘yes,'” Harry explained to the comic.
As to why he chose to share these troubling details in his memoir, Prince Harry, who has devoted much time to helping injured veterans deal with PTSD – and has invited veterans to Last show taping – said it was part of his mission to help struggling vets.
“I made the choice to share it because after spending almost two decades working with veterans around the world, I think the most important thing is to be honest and to be able to give space to others to be able to share their experiences without any shame,” Prince Harry said. “And my whole aim and my attempt to share this detail is to reduce the number of suicides.”
Prince Harry’s admission in his memoirs that he killed 25 Afghan insurgents, and his description of ‘chess pieces’, has sparked a series of protests in Afghanistan – including at a local university in Helmand, reports the PA.
“The cruelties that were committed by Prince Harry, his friends or anyone else in Helmand or anywhere in Afghanistan are unacceptable, cruel. These acts will be remembered in history,” said Sayed Ahmad Sayed, Professor at University. PA during the demonstration.